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September 21, 2023

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University avoids Flu pandemic

The flu is widespread throughout the country, but Bowling Green could be an exception.

College seems like it might be a breeding ground for viruses, but the Student Health Center hasn’t seen many cases, said Deb Busdeker, director of the Student Health Center.

“We’re seeing some [cases],” Busdeker said. “We’re not in an epidemic here.”

The Student Health Center has given more than 500 flu shots, but it has about 400 doses left, Busdeker said.

As far as the severity of the cases the health center has treated, Busdeker said she doesn’t think they’re more severe than past years.

“There’s nothing abnormal going on,” she said. “It pretty much seems to be following the normal patterns.”

Faith Yingling, director of Wellness at the University, said the severity of the flu depends on the year.

“It’s really hard to say, with a virus you never can tell from year to year what it’s going to be like,” Yingling said. “That’s why we encourage people to get the vaccination so we can guard against as much as possible.”

Sarah Patrick, a junior, said she got the flu vaccine at a pharmacy while she was at home and she said other students should get the shot too.

“It’s important to try to keep yourself healthy and make sure you’re not spreading your germs and getting other people sick,” Patrick said.

It seems like the flu season started earlier this year, Yingling said.

“It definitely seems that we’ve certainly seen a lot more of it,” she said. “We’ve got a lot of flu going on nationally.”

College students may be more at risk for getting the flu, for a few reasons, Yingling said.

Patrick said she has seen people with the flu this year, but that they usually stay in.

Factors such as weaker immune systems because of stress, lack of sleep and nutrition issues like a less than ideal diet may contribute to the risk for getting the flu, Yingling said.

Students can do things like staying hydrated, getting enough sleep, eating a well-balanced diet and getting exercise to help prevent the flu, Yingling said.

Patrick said she takes measures beyond getting the vaccine to prevent herself from getting the flu.

“Washing hands a lot, using hand sanitizer more frequently during the day, being preventative in those kinds of ways,” Patrick said.

Another factor is the close quarters that often come with college living, Yingling said. If students’ roommates have the flu, Yingling said to avoid sharing items such as utensils and glasses.

“[That’s] such an easy way to pass those germs,” Yingling said.

Patrick said she would make sure to not share items with her roommate if they were ill.

“I would try to stay away as much as possible, keep my distance,” she said.

Jane Swartz, sophomore, said she heard that the flu hit pretty hard in Ohio, but she hadn’t heard of many cases on campus.

She hasn’t had a flu shot and said she probably won’t get one.

“I guess because I feel like I stay healthy,” Swartz said. “I don’t necessarily need a shot.”

Swartz said she does other things such as eating healthy and exercising to help her body be strong and to prevent illness.

If people are not feeling well it is good to get rest and minimize contact with people as much as possible, Yingling said.

Yingling said there are also misconceptions about the flu shot.

“One of the biggest misconceptions that I hear about the flu vaccine from students is that it’s going to make me sick,” Yingling said. “The shot is a dead virus unless it’s a nasal virus, then it’s weakened.”

Sometimes, people are already on the verge of getting sick before they get the vaccine, Yingling said.

There are a lot of different strains of the flu, so the shot is not a guarantee, Yingling said.

“It is a preventative action you can take,” Yingling said. “It’s not hard, all it is is a vaccine.”

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