Fight the flu before it arrives

Dr. Katy Lilly

Exeter's health center has some good advice to avoid a repeat of last season's severe influenza outbreak

December 1, 2018
Dr. Katy Lilly and the Lamont Health & Wellness Center report they have administered flu shots to more than 85 percent of Exeter students.

It’s winter in New Hampshire. The snow (and the sleet and the freezing rain and the …) has been falling. The germs have been spreading. It’s that special time of year: flu season.

The Centers for Disease Control estimate that between 8 million and 9.5 million people in the United States have already been sickened by various strains of the virus this season. Last year, 49 million Americans contracted the flu and a staggering 80,000 died from it and its complications.

It's not all hopeless, however. Our team at the Lamont Health & Wellness Center has good advice to fight off the flu.

First, get vaccinated. A flu shot is the first line of defense to prevent an influenza infection, a viral infection characterized by fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, body aches, headache and fatigue. The illness generally lasts between five and 14 days, but in some cases, the effects are far more severe.

I am happy to report that the Health Center has administered flu vaccines to over 85 percent of the students at Exeter this year. This is great news. Flu vaccines are not a guarantee you won’t contract the flu, but they remain the very best preventative measure, especially on a communal campus like Exeter. And vaccination also has been shown to reduce the severity of illness among people who get vaccinated but still get sick.

More good news? It is not too late to get the vaccine. Students can stop by the Health Center at any time to receive this vaccine with parental approval.

Additionally, the campus as a whole can do its part to prevent the spread of flu-like illnesses by following these common infection prevention measures:

  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Wash your hands frequently, including before a meal; there is hand sanitizer at the tables at the dining halls, please use it
  • Do not share drinks or utensils
  • Use a tissue when sneezing or coughing, throw the tissue away after use and wash your hands
  • Avoid touching your nose, mouth and eyes, many illnesses are transmitted this way

Further information about flu activity in our area and this year’s flu vaccine efficacy and flu activity can be found at these links:

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/index.htm

https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdcs/influenza/activity.htm

Even with the flu vaccine and appropriate preventative measures, cases of influenza can occur. We encourage all students who feel ill to check in with us. We have nurses and physicians available to assess students 24 hours a day. We can help to diagnose and treat any conditions for which one would normally see a primary care practitioner.

If you are diagnosed with the flu, there are some cases when anti-viral medication may be helpful. The Health Center also has in-patient beds where students can receive care even overnight if needed. Whether it is for prevention or treatment, the Health Center is here to help.

 

 


Explore: Community