Flu hits hard this season by Jarrett Quick

DMACC, as well as the rest of the country, has seen a more severe flu season this year compared to past seasons. This year’s flu has caused Boston and New York to declare states of emergency among increased positive cases and a vaccine shortage in some areas.

This year’s flu season also started earlier than normal, leading to its increased severity. At DMACC, students are exposed to the flu through anything from talking to classmates to using a keyboard. One step students can take to combat the flu is to be aware of methods to stop transmission of the illness.

Faculty at DMACC received an e-mail at the start of the semester stating they may see a greater number of absences due to ill students and were advised to accommodate missing days and assignments on a class by class basis.

“People can transmit the flu up to a day before they show symptoms.” Campus Health Specialist Sandra Foster said.

Mainly spread through bodily fluids such as sneezing or coughing, the flu virus can live on a surface for two to three days after contact. Cleanliness and hand washing before and after using a shared surface can be a big help in curbing the spread of the virus.

Hand Sanitizer works in a situation where soap and water are not present, but it should not act as a substitute for actual hand washing.

Foster also recommends avoiding touching of the face or mouth, as the flu can enter the body very easily from the hand to the body.

Another way students can fight the flu is by getting a yearly flu shot. “It’s not too late to get a flu shot,” said Foster.

Although areas of the country are experiencing shortages, there are still plenty of locations around Ankeny where students can get a flu shot.

The flu shot takes about two weeks to go into full effect, the vaccination is 50 to 70 percent effective. Target, Walgreens, and Wal-mart pharmacies are all convenient locations where vaccines are available, but it’s a good idea to call ahead and verify they still have stock as the flu season continues to escalate.

The Polk County Health Department, located at 1907 Carpenter Avenue, has flu shots available Monday-Friday 9- 4 p.m. on a walk-in basis. The shot is free, although they suggest a $20 donation.

If you already have the flu or are showing flu like symptoms such as a fever or cough, it is advised that you stay home from class as to not spread the flu further. If symptoms persist, a visit to a physician is recommended.

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