By: Anna Piper
With the weather finally starting to warm up, there is some other news that may warm your heart. According to the latest week review from the CDC, for week 7 of the flu season, Influenza Like Illnesses, or ILI, is down one percent, dropping from 7.4 percent to 6.4 percent. If you had the flu this season, then you know it wasn’t an easy illness to shake. The flu this year proved to be especially devastating, and presently there are 97 known cases of flu related pediatric deaths. Although the flu is still considered to be at epidemic levels and widespread over 39 states, numbers are dropping. Emergency departments are reporting that their waiting rooms are starting to look emptier, and people are not going to see their primary care physicians with flu symptoms as commonly.
The flu is an airborne disease that is transmitted through tiny water droplets we spread through a cough sneeze or even when we talk. Those droplets can land in other people’s mouths, on their hands or on their face, and infect them. It is also less commonly spread through touching a surface an infected person has also touched.
Although the flu is tapering off, you still should protect yourself. The CDC has been very clear in that, IT IS NOT TOO LATE TO GET A FLU SHOT! This year’s main strain of the flu (H3N2) is especially resilient to the vaccine, but the CDC reports that it is still approximately 30% effective. Obviously 30 percent isn’t especially high, but it is much higher than 0%. The flu peak seasons are December- February, but the flu season can last until May, which means you still have time to potentially get sick.
If you are experiencing flu symptoms, be proactive! If you feel as though you are getting sick, see your healthcare provider. Tamiflu, an antiviral, is the most effective 48 hours after the virus first infects a host. Miami University’s health center has Tamiflu prescriptions, and they want you to come in if you’re not feeling well. You can call Miami Student Health Services at 513-529-3000 if you feel like you are getting sick or if you want to go ahead and make an appointment to get a flu shot!
Finally, don’t forget the basics. Be sure to also cough and sneeze into your elbows, wash your hands after using the restroom, before preparing food or eating, after handling money and wash frequently if someone you are around frequently (a roommate, housemate or significant other) is sick. Regularly disinfect surfaces that you touch often (laptops, phone screens). If your significant other is ill, although it should go unsaid, don’t kiss them (they will understand). Don’t hang out with people who are experiencing flu symptoms, and if you yourself are experiencing flu symptoms, talk to your professors and stay home. Often times we forget that professors are people too, but they not only want us to feel better and succeed, they don’t want us getting them sick. Keep yourselves healthy, Redhawks!