What you can do to stay healthy this flu season

This winter a rapid flu epidemic is sweeping across the nation. Around 53 deaths have been reported across the United States from flu symptoms alone.

Station at entrance to Health Services to keep students clean. Photo By: Austin Page

According to Pam Buchanan of WCU Health Services, an average of 10-15 patients a day come to the Byrd medical center with flu-like symptoms – approximately 10 percent of the student patient population. Buchanan says that Health Services are wanting no visitors  that do not feel sick in order to not spread disease even further. So how can we prepare ourselves to avoid getting sick?

Recently WWCU FM, Westerns campus radio station, recorded a live interview with Karla Morgan from the Jackson County Department of Public Health about this year’s flu season and how it’s affected not only the county but also the entire nation. She says that the strongest case of influenza hitting the U.S. is H3N2, also known as type A. This type of strain is the strongest out of the two types of influenzas and the one that causes the worst outbreaks.

People who contract the flu are usually exposed to it for 7 days but do not feel sick till about 3 to 5 days of carrying the virus. The virus spreads airborne when people are in close proximity to one another, and can be spread faster through rapid coughing. If a person feels the systems of the flu, they will first have a high fever that is very contagious. It is safe to wait 24 hours for the fever to settle before returning to work or school.

Whiteboard in Byrd waiting room. Photo By: Austin Page

Morgan suggests you can keep yourself from catching the flu by:

  • Washing your hands
  • Wiping off surfaces after others have used them
  • Restrain from touching your face as much as possible
  • If you feel sick after the 24 hour period wear a safety mask provided by your local medical center
  • Get vaccinated if you haven’t already

You can easily get vaccinated at your local pharmacy or medical center. Vaccines are free for ages 3 to 18 and are $30 for people over 18. It is important to be prepared and to take precautions in order to stay healthy as the flu season will continue on until late March.


Listen to the full interview with Morgan below.