Students prepare to face annual cold, flu season
Published: Thursday, September 26, 2013
Updated: Thursday, September 26, 2013 12:09
The much dreaded cold and flu season is beginning to make its yearly appearance. These illnesses and other health problems can take over the body and be physically draining. Being sick and unhealthy often also has an affect on a student’s performance in school, work and extra curricular activities.
Taking precautions daily to stay clean and healthy can prevent illness.
According to Kristen Ratliff, a junior in the nursing program of Greenbrier, eating right, getting plenty of rest, drinking a lot of fluids, avoiding excess stress and, most importantly, washing your hands everyday is a good start to keeping your body healthy.
Ratliff said with cold and flu season coming up she definitely recommends getting a flu shot. The A-State Health Center will be hosting a flu vaccination clinic next month.
“Take the time and make the effort to get a flu vaccine. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses,” Victoria Williams, director of the A-State health center, said.
Williams said flu vaccines are scheduled to be received at the Student Health Center on Oct. 15. A notice will be placed on the A-State Daily Digest upon arrival.
Students may come in the clinic between the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., no appointment is required.
The Student Health Center will be hosting a flu shot clinic for students and staff in the Student Union on Oct. 24 from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. The shots will be $15 and can be applied to student accounts, paid with express dollars or pre-paid at the cashier window.
According to Williams, ways to treat flu symptoms without medication include: getting plenty of rest; drinking clear fluids like water, broth, sports drinks, or electrolyte beverages to prevent becoming dehydrated; placing a cool, damp washcloth on your forehead, arms, and legs to reduce discomfort associated with a fever; putting a humidifier in your room to make breathing easier; gargling salt water (1:1 ratio warm water to salt) to soothe a sore throat; and covering up with a warm blanket to calm chills.
Cough medicine, cough drops and throat lozenges can temporarily relieve coughing and sore throat. Fevers and aches can be treated with a pain reliever such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
In some cases, students face more serious illnesses that cannot be prevented. Denise Goldstein, a junior dietetics and nutrition major of Central Square, N.Y., has suffered from heart problems for the last three years.
For a long time doctors could not pinpoint the exact problem, so Goldstein was forced to live her life on a day-to-day basis not knowing what would happen. All that changed on Dec. 31, 2012 when she was legally pronounced dead for an entire minute, and was then admitted into the hospital for testing.
“They hooked me up to a couple of monitors and found out that I have bradycardia and cardiac syncope,” she said. “Basically, I have a slow heartbeat and sometimes it just stops working.”
She had surgery on Jan. 4 to have a pacemaker implanted. Goldstein is now required to see a cardiologist every 90 days for a routine check-up. She said dealing with these health problems and balancing school is hard.
“It’s a struggle that I will always deal with, but I’m grateful to be alive and to have such a great team of doctors who take care of me,” Goldstein said.
Ratliff said being unhealthy wears you out and can affect your performance in school, work and extracurricular activities.
“When most people are sick, they don’t feel like doing anything but sleeping. Which is fine, but too much of that can keep you from getting your school work done and getting your job done,” she said.
Other than not being able to give 100 percent, health concerns can make it hard to focus and many times keep a student away from attending classes, which can have an impact on grades.
“Getting sick happens more often in new surroundings and when being in close proximity such as in a college environment,” Williams said. “Research has proven that colds and influenza-like illnesses are associated with negative effects on health, school and work performance, and leisure time activities. Accompanying symptoms such as fatigue, decreased energy, and inability to focus inhibits one from reaching their full potential.”
Williams added that illnesses can reduce one’s effectiveness at work and school, including subjective and mental alertness, and studies have consistently found that upper respiratory tract infections, including influenza and the common cold, are associated with substantial rates of missed class and work.
Handling health issues as soon as possible can help keep you focused and performing at your best level in school. The ASU Health Center offers free appointments for students.
“All current students enrolled and taking classes at the Jonesboro campus are entitled to receive services offered at the Student Health Center,” Williams said.
The Health Center is located at 333B S. Stadium Blvd., next to Liberty Bank Stadium and adjacent to the First Care Clinic. Office Hours are Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with two sick-call times daily from 8 a.m. - 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. - 2 p.m. for acute illnesses. Appointments can be made by calling 972-2054.