Health center prepares for flu season

As the College braces itself for the onset of winter, students, staff and faculty are preparing for one of the season’s largest concerns: the flu.

The risk of flu transmission increases greatly as students begin to spend less time outdoors and more time studying inside their warm common rooms and library carrels, potentially creating long lines of cold and flu sufferers at the Health Center.

To counter the problem in advance, the Health Center will hold a free flu clinic on Oct. 26 and Oct. 27 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Paresky.

While the Health Center still does not have a pharmacist on staff, Ruth Harrison, director of Health Services, said this will not cause any problems for the College. She said students should take precautions against the spread of flu by washing their hands frequently and thoroughly, attempting to maintain adequate nutrition and getting a decent amount of sleep each night.
Students should also be careful handling frequently touched objects such as money. They should avoid frequent facial contact, as colds are often transmitted through the eyes and mouth.

Most importantly, Harrison stressed the importance of flu vaccinations. “One of the components of this year’s vaccine will protect against H1N1,” Harrison said, which is critical following the outbreak at the College last year.

Harrison said that even considering last year’s epidemic, the flu season has never posed critical problems for the College, and there are no trends indicating increases or decreases in the flu’s activity on campus. Still, she emphasized that members of the College community should take all available precautions.

“The best way for students to stay well is to get vaccinated, wash hands frequently and thoroughly [and] try to get adequate sleep and nutrition,” Harrison said.