By Allie Alexy
Chills. Body ache. Fever. Exhaustion. Sore throat. Stuffy nose.
We all know what it is like, and flu season has just begun. The important question is to figure out whether you have a cold or the flu.
The flu is a highly contagious virus, even more so than the Ebola virus. It is an airborne virus, and can be spread without even having symptoms of the virus. Symptoms are similar for both a cold and the flu, so determining which of the two you have requires a visit to a doctor.
While at college, at-home doctors can be difficult or impossible to get to. This makes going to a simple doctor’s appointment hard. Olivet offers health services, located in the Center for Student Success, which makes this task easier.
“We offer a free service for full-time undergraduate students. We may be the only service they need, and if not, we can offer a list of local doctors who can help them,” Health Services said.
There are many preventative measures that can help you avoid getting the flu. One method of prevention is to get a flu shot– the best method of prevention– which is available through Health Services.
Try to avoid close contact with people who are already sick. If you have been around people who are sick, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth and wash your hands with soap and water. Disinfect surfaces that are commonly used, including doorknobs, faucets and desks.
If you do get sick, the Center for Disease Control recommends staying home for 24 hours after your fever has gone without the help of fever-reducing medication, with the exception of going for medical care. As a college student, this may not be possible, but try to reduce the amount of contact with other people to stop the spread of the virus.
It is important to cover your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing and to throw out used tissues right away.
While it may seem that spreading the flu is very easy at college, Health Services said that they only treat five to ten students with the flu a year. This may not mean that students are not getting the flu. It simply means that they may not be seeking help from Health Services.
If you do not want to go to Health Services, there is Riverside Medical Center Fast Care inside the Bourbonnais Walmart. They offer walk-in treatments for cold and flu symptoms for a flat-fee, which can be billed to your insurance company.