Health Services warns of flu

By Tyler Coventry, Copy Editor

Student Health Services has registered an increase in reports of flu cases this semester and has posted a list of advisements for students looking to protect themselves.

The Center for Disease Control has also noticed an increase in cases on a national level. While flu related deaths have not significantly increased, instances of the H3N2 virus have been plentiful and the influenza B virus has had an uncharacteristic increase in parts of the country.

The prevalence of these viruses, particularly the H3N2 virus, poses a concentrated threat to the young and the elderly. The CDC has reported that “The flu-associated hospitalization rate among people 65 and older is the highest rate recorded since the CDC began tracking that data in 2005.” As of late February, the hospitalization rate has reached up to 266.1 per 100,000 among the elderly demographic.

Upon noticing the increase, SHS has posted several tips to prevent any further escalation of the outbreak. Students are advised to implement several simple habits such as washing hands after contact, covering mouth when sneezing or coughing, drinking plenty of fluids and dressing with the weather in mind.

An unusual symptom for students to look out for is parotitis, the uncomfortable swelling of salivary glands. The CDC reports that multiple states have notified the CDC of laboratory-confirmed cases of parotitis.

This is not a common symptom of influenza and is more commonly associated with pathogens such as the mumps virus. However, the parotitis occurs in the presence of typical flu symptoms such as fever, mouth and throat dryness and soreness, body aches and fatigue.

Students who experience these symptoms are encouraged to stay home and to seek medical attention if their condition worsens. Fever reducers like Tylenol and Ibuprofen are also prescribed for short-term relief.

Students interested in the SHS’s post can find it on their page on the UA website and anyone looking for more information can find it on the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season-2014-2015.htm .

 

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