By Ana Perez
Sneezing, coughing and triple-digit fevers are storming across campus and the U.S. alike.
That’s right, it’s flu season.
Flu season for the U.S. occurs between the fall and winter.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the flu epidemic tends to be at its highest between late November and early March.
Influenza, or flu, is more than just a bad cold.
According to the CDC’s Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance report, 8,990 influenza-associated hospitalizations were reported between Oct. 1, 2017 and Jan. 13.
The flu is spread through airborne particles unlike colds, which are most often spread through direct contact.
The symptoms for the flu also tend to be more severe.
Someone with the flu can feel the effects for up three weeks.
Muscle pain, exhaustion, headaches and chest discomfort are common symptoms of both the flu and a cold, however are felt categorically stronger with the flu.
The primary difference between the two is how sudden and rapidly the flu symptoms begin.
The flu vaccine doesn’t necessarily prevent a person from getting the flu, but can help lessen the severity of the illness.
“I did get my flu shot, but I still got sick right after New Year’s,” Bryce Leung, a fourth-year computer information systems student, said.
“It only lasted a couple of days, but it was still awful.”
Medication can be taken to treat the symptoms; however, a doctor can also prescribe antiviral drugs to treat the illness.
The antiviral drugs help lessen the severity of the flu and shorten the length of time one is sick for.
“I took some Tylenol for the fever and slept off the rest,” Leung said.
A person is best protected against the flu if they receive the flu shot early.
The flu vaccine is made from inactivated flu viruses that helps the body produce antibodies to help combat the flu infection, however, the flu vaccine doesn’t work immediately.
These antibodies take about two weeks to develop after the vaccination.
The CPP Student Health and Counseling Services (SHCS) provided Broncos free flu shots by appointment at the beginning of November up until Nov. 17.
According to the SHCS website, the flu is amongst the most frequent reason why students visit the health center and are “the second most common causes of poor academic performance among all college students, including Cal Poly Pomona students.”
Since CPP is a large campus with approximately 20,000 students the flu has the perfect breeding ground if no preventive measures are taking place.
The flu can become more than just a two-week illness.
According to the CDC, the flu can also lead to other health complications such as pneumonia and bronchitis.
The CDC also stated that the flu can also make chronic health problems worse.
The CDC website states: “…people with asthma may experience asthma attacks while they have the flu, and people with chronic congestive hearth failure may experience worsening of this condition triggered by flu.”
According to the CDC, the best treatment for the flu is prevention.
The CDC recommends getting yourself and your family vaccinated, avoiding contact with anyone who is sick and washing your hands often.
It is also important to keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth.
If you do become sick, it is important to stay home and avoid getting anyone else sick.
According to the CDC, a person should be fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication before resuming “normal activities” such as going to school or work.
Even though the flu season is about halfway through, it’s not too late to get your flu shot.
There will still be heavy flu activity until March.
Speak to your healthcare provider about getting your flu shot or visit the Health Services Building, Building 46, for more information.
Valerie Mancia / The Poly Post
Flu season for the U.S. occurs between the fall and winter
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