Nationwide flu outbreak strikes Hampton’s campus

Alexus Baldwin |Contributing Writer

flu pic
Leenika Belfield-Martin

H3NU — a relatively new strain of influenza — is causing a nationwide outbreak that college students are particularly prone to.

“The Health Center has seen an increase in influenza activity this semester, which is consistent with activity nationwide,” said MeGan Hill, a certified health education specialist.

H1N1 and Influenza B viruses are spreading as well. Those with the vaccine will not suffer as much as those without. The CDC said, “All states except for Hawaii and Oregon continue to report widespread flu activity.” It also reports that 42 states and the District of Columbia are experiencing high levels of influenza-like illness activity.

Certain people are more likely to contract the influenza than others.

“Students that have a weakened immune system or chronic illness such as diabetes, anemia, asthma, cancer or kidney disease are at an even higher risk,” said Marcella  Douglas, a registered nurse located in Yorktown. “Pregnant women have also shown an increase in issues dealing with influenza.”

Influenza A H3N2 was first identified in United States pigs in 2010. This virus can be deadly and is causing most of the sickness. According to the CDC, there have been 53 pediatric deaths in this 2017-2018 flu season.

If you display symptoms of influenza such as congestion, muscle aches, coughing, sneezing, sore throat or even new rashes, you are advised to call the Health Center to schedule an appointment or walk in.

The health center recommends that all students should get vaccinated if possible. The most recent campus flu shot clinic was held Feb. 7 in the Student Center atrium. Students also can receive vaccinations at the Hampton Health District or the nearest Walgreens.

“This year, I failed to get vaccinated, and I ended up becoming sick and leaving campus,” said Nyah Davis, a biology major from Richmond. “Now I know that getting vaccinated is critical. I plan on making an appointment and convincing other students to do the same.”

To prevent spreading influenza and to protect yourself, be sure to frequently wash your hands, cover your sneeze/cough with your inner elbow, use medication recommended by your doctor and sanitize your surroundings.

“[Hampton University] should make sure every classroom and auditorium has tissues and hand sanitizer for students, especially in the winter [when] it is common for students to be coughing and sneezing,” business major Brandon Davis said.

To find out more information in regards to influenza, visit cdc.gov/flu. For those with questions about the University Influenza policy, contact the Health Center at (757) 727-5315.

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