Cases of the flu spike on campus

It is the height of the flu season again, and Western Carolina University’s Health Center is patching up those who are already sick and helping those who are well to stay that way.

As of Jan. 31, the Health Center has seen 122 students with influenza like illness according to Pam Buchanan, director of Health Services. Those 122 have either been contaminated with the actual flu virus or have similar symptoms that could develop into the flu. A handful of the 122 are positive for type A flu or “the swine flu.”

“H1N1 is a strain of type A and is still the most prevalent strain in the community at large,” said Buchanan. “I would assume that our students that are testing positive for type A are mostly likely sick with H1N1 flu.”

For those already sick, it is advised to restrict contract for at least three days. Do not attend classes, but stay at home to rest and like Mom always says, drink your fluids.

For those hoping not to get the flu, it is best to avoid those who are sick and always wash your hands, especially after coughing. Look out for symptoms and go to the Health Center immediately after they appear. Symptoms can occur suddenly and include high fever, muscle aches, exhaustion, and a cough. In extreme cases, patients could experience vomiting or diarrhea. If you recognize the symptoms, the flu virus will not be such a horrible experience if you get to the Health Center.

Flu vaccinations are available at the Health Center with an appointment. Buchannan said 325 vaccines have been given since the beginning of fall semester, and there are still shots available.

“The cost of the vaccine is $15,” said Buchanan. “If the student is covered on the student health plan, that fee is covered at 100 percent by the insurance.”

For vaccine appointments, call the Health Center at 828-227-7640. For the new “After Hours Nurseline,” call 1-866-315-8756. You can also become a fan of Health Services on Facebook and receive tips on how to stay well and healthy.