Flu Season: How Can You Protect Yourself?

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The temperature in New York City is decreasing, while coughs and sniffles are increasing. Approaching the holiday season is exciting, but it is important to remember that we are most prone to falling ill with the flu this time of year.

According to New York City Health, the flu — short for influenza — is common during the seasonal transition into winter. While it may seem like a case of the common cold, the flu is far more serious. It can lead to pneumonia, and in the worst-case scenario, death. Over 3,7000 New Yorkers died from the flu/pneumonia in 2021, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Terri Calhoun, the nurse at the Health Services Office, spoke to The Knight News providing  a guide of everyday preventative habits we should adopt, referenced from the CDC.
“We are seeing a spike in COVID, colds, and flu-related illnesses,” Calhoun said. 

During midterms and finals, many students often neglect their health in the midst of studying. Nurse Calhoun reminds QC students that a key step to steering clear of the flu is to, “Eat well, stay hydrated with water, and get sufficient sleep to maintain your body’s natural ability to fight infections.”

Other preventative measures students can take are to practice cleanliness and decontamination, which effectively curbs the spread of germs. For example, the CDC guide mentions “Washing your hands often with soap and water,” and “Keeping living and work environments clean by disinfecting high-touch surfaces.” This can be done by carrying hand sanitizer and disposable wipes, or washing one’s hands in between classes and during arrival and exit of the campus.

Additionally, attending a commuter school means students often come in contact with large crowds and overpopulated spaces. While difficult when commuting to campus, avoiding these areas or utilizing hand sanitizer after exiting any buses or trains can lower students’ chances of catching the flu.

The QC Office of the President stresses that all staff and students stay home when feeling unwell. University policy states that virtual instruction, or any other sorts of accommodations will be made for medically-excused individuals. 

Getting a flu shot can also help prevent severe side effects of the flu. The Health Services office, located on the third floor of Virginia Frese Hall, provides complimentary flu shots for all students as well as general check-ins. 

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