Flu Season Targets SHU Students

Flu Season Targets SHU Students

It’s that time of the year, where the cold weather is coming through and students at Siena are getting sick. It’s not just students here, but students all across the country who tend to get sick and have the flu because of the changes in season and weather.

Flu shots have been given in the nurse’s office all of October and will be given until February. The school nurse, Sister Sharon Spanbauer, had some knowledge to share about the importance of getting flu shots and why you should get one.

“I usually tell people here that you don’t usually get the shot for you, you get the flu shots for babies and elders. They are the ones who die from it usually,” she said. “Last year, I believe there was a young lady, and I didn’t know if she was a high school or a college athlete, but she died from the flu. Influenza is a respiratory disease, and so if you have a compromised respiratory system, like asthma or something like that, you can go into insomnia and it can be lethal. If you’re going home and you’re seeing grandma and grandpa, or you’re seeing younger siblings or even newborn nieces and nephews and you give them the flu, then that can have serious consequences.”

Sister Sharon said how easy it is to catch something because of all the germs around campus that people do not pay attention to.

“Everyone is so busy, stressed out, anxious, and not getting enough sleep,” she said. “All of those things make your immune system less robust, and so it’s very easy to catch things. I always tell people to get a lot of rest, eat well, hydrate and all those other kinds of things. Living in a dorm or sitting next to people in class with coughs and colds and touching surfaces, I would be afraid to go around and find out what kind of bacteria and viruses are lurking on door handles and even railings on the stairs.”

There are some things that can be done to avoid catching a cold.

“The most important things you can do are keeping your hands washed and away from your face. People would rub their eye and now they have pinkeye or conjunctivitis,” Sister Sharon said.

More serious viruses can also circulate campuses. Sister Sharon said that “a more serious virus that can come to campus is meningitis. You can have symptoms Monday and be dead by Wednesday, and people don’t realize that. Meningitis vaccinations are offered and a lot of students have had it, which is good, but if you haven’t, it’s not too late to get it. There have been outbreaks on large campuses out west, where they had a number of deaths and had thousands of students lined up to get the meningitis vaccine because they haven’t gotten it.”

Sister Sharon said students should educate themselves on how to avoid catching the flu or other illnesses. She said it is very important to make sure students have all of their vaccinations and to try their best to stay clear of germs. Living in residence halls with community bathrooms can make things very hard in terms of that, she said, but simply watching what they are doing, and even having disinfecting products, can decrease their chances of becoming sick.