Fresno State’s Student Health Center sent out an email to students and faculty on Wednesday, urging precautions in order to prevent spreading the latest influenza virus.
“The Student Health Center is taking a proactive approach toward prevention by reminding students, staff and faculty that there are ways to avoid getting the flu,” said Catherine Felix, the center’s director.
Prevention includes receiving the vaccination, hand washing and covering sneezes or coughs, she added.
One of the most accessible forms of prevention is hand washing, which, it is suggested, is effective if done for 20 or more seconds. In the event that soap and water are inaccessible, use hand sanitizer.
Felix said that 1,700 doses of vaccine were administered this past fall semester. While the Health Center has since run out of the vaccine, web links to Fresno County immunization clinics were included in the email.
It is not too late if you want to get vaccinated, Felix said along with the reminder that the human body takes approximately two weeks to develop an immune response after receiving the vaccine.
“Vitamins can help keep you healthy,” Felix said, but she does not recommend it as the only way to prevent coming down with the common cold or flu.
A link has been made available on the Health Center website, www.fresnostate.edu/health. The link gives access to a chart that can help determine the illness and give advice on how to treat it. There is also a self-care station in the center’s lobby, where visitors can pick up information sheets on different ways to care for themselves in the event that they or a friend have a cold or flu.
In the email, Felix suggested that sick individuals stay home, stay in contact with their employers and professors so they will not fall too far behind in classes. Also suggested is appointing a “flu buddy.” This means asking a healthy friend to be available to check up on the ill person regularly and bring necessities such as food and medicines.
“For students, you can ask your flu buddy to pick up a free flu kit at the Student Health Center that contains an oral thermometer, cough drops and starter kit for over-the-counter medication such as acetaminophen,” the email read.
Acetaminophen, found in over-the-counter medications, helps reduce fever and relieves pain, according to WebMD.com, the popular medical website that Felix referred to in the email.
Intake of acetaminophen should be monitored, the website warns, as it is easy to accidentally overdose or cause severe liver injury.
The Student Health Center is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., with the exception of Wednesday, when the center opens at 9 a.m. If the center is closed, an after-hours advice nurse is available by calling 559-278-2734.
If you notice a worsening of cold or flu symptoms after three or four days, it is highly recommended to seek medical attention to avoid further health complications.