Flu season is strong on campus and across the nation.
According to reports from the Associated Press, a second round of flu has come to the United States, mostly affecting children and adolescents, but college-aged people are at risk, too.
In total, more than 26 million people have gotten the flu, and 14,000 people have died from the illness this season. To avoid this, here are five steps to avoid the flu the second time around:
Wash your hands
Washing your hands is key to avoiding any sickness and might be the most important step. As the flu virus can remain on surfaces for more than 24 hours, washing your hands is the best way to stay healthy, especially after coming in contact with other people, doorknobs and desks.
Remember to use warm, soapy water when washing your hands and to carry hand sanitizer with you to use when you’re unable to wash your hands.
Cover your mouth when you sneeze and cough
Since the flu virus can be transferred as an airborne disease, covering your mouth when you sneeze and cough is necessary to keep those around you from getting sick. Cough and sneeze into a tissue or your elbow — never into your hands — to avoid spreading unnecessary germs.
Use safe-sex practices
Common to both sex and the spread of the flu is heavy breathing. Being wary of those you kiss and have sex with is crucial to avoiding it, and to best avoid it, only be around those you know are not sick. Remember, a person recovering from the flu can be contagious for a week after symptoms subside, so just because your partner doesn’t seem sick doesn’t mean you won’t come down with it.
Avoid areas of high congestion
This will be difficult at any college, especially one as large as WVU, but it’s important to avoid large crowds and areas with a high population. Locations on campus such as the Mountainlair or Evansdale Crossing can be breeding grounds for germs, and with no way to know who around you is, or is about to be sick, it’s best to stay away.
Not only should you stay away from areas of high congestion, but you should stay away from people you know are already sick, too.
Stay home if you’re sick
You can only miss so many classes, everyone knows that, but it’s important to not put other people at risk if you’re sick. Not only are you putting others at risk for sickness, but leaving the comfort of your bed won’t do you any favors either in terms of feeling better.
Whether or not you’ve used all your excused absences for the semester, you should email your professor and explain the situation, and they may help you out. Or, you can try to get an excused absence from WVU Student Health.