Flu Season

Keilah Whitaker, Staff Writer

Around the middle of the fall semester, the weather beings to get colder and people tend to get sick with one of the most common illnesses – the influenza virus.

Influenza is a respiratory illness that gives systemic symptoms, affecting the entire body at times. It is spread by infected droplets, which can infect people through coughing and sneezing as far away as four feet.

“Flu season is usually October to April of each year and is typically the time of the year when people commonly get infected with the influenza virus,” Maxine Mendoza-Welch, director of student health services at Texas A&M University-Commerce, said. “The flu peak season is typically December to February.”

According to statistics, an average of 200,000 people are hospitalized each year with flu complications, however not many people know how to treat it.

“Treatment includes ‘symptomatic treatment’ such as taking Tylenol or Ibuprofen for fever and muscle aches,” Mendoza-Welch said. “Dayquil/Nyquil has 4-5 different medications that will also treat many symptoms. Relenza and Tamiflu are anti-viral medications given to patients who have pre-exiting medical conditions such as diabetes, asthma, autoimmune disease and chronic heart disease. The medication needs to be started within 48 hours of exposure to lessen the symptoms by 1-2 days.”

Precautions against the flu include a variety of actions.

“Wash your hand often, especially after being in public locations,” Mendoza-Welch said. “Never touch your face or nose before washing your hands. Also getting a yearly flu vaccine is probably the best way to avoid getting the flu. The flu shot is available to all student/faculty/staff/community age 4 years and up for $20. Most health insurance will cover the cost of the vaccine at 100%. We accept Blue Cross/Blue Shield, United Health and Aetna.”

Student Health Services also has physicians and nurses to assist students’ issues concerning the flu.