College campuses all over the United States have been feeling the pressure brought on by the health scare, H1N1 aka the swine flu. We have the government, health professionals and news reporters saying how bad and dangerous the swine flu is. What is the real story and what are colleges doing to prepare? General information about college campuses and the swine flu is patchy and hard to find. Individual campus websites will give the best up to date information for your area.
In general, however; the swine flu has hit some campuses hard while it has not caused too much trouble at others. Most campuses are keeping up to date with the CDC and health officials and are handing out fliers and pamphlets with information about the flu and what they can do to minimize their risk of exposure. Campuses are also handing out hand sanitizers and making use of the internet to spread the word around campus.
If you ask college students, most say they are not too worried about the dangers of the swine flu, they are washing their hands. The swine flu can be deadly though and should be treated with caution. A student at Grand Valley State University in Michigan recently died fighting encephalitis brought on by the H1N1 virus. He fell sick and after a few days it seemed he was getting better until he became incoherent and the family took him to the hospital. This virus does not just affect the young or old.
In fact most people 65 and older are at more risk from the regular seasonal flu than the H1N1 virus, unless they have underlying complications and risks. Think of the “Spanish” flu epidemic from 1918 and 1919; it infected over 1/3 of the world’s population and killed more than 50 million people. Thank goodness we have antiviral drugs today that were not existent back then. We still need to be aware that all age groups can be affected, even the young and healthy. Now this is all being said not to scare you but to make sure you keep an eye on your health and that of your loved ones.
Yes, there have been deaths related to the swine flu, H1N1 on college campuses and all over the world. The good news is that most of the people infected get better with the proper medicines and nutrition. The key is to stay away from people who are sick and stay away from people if you are sick. Get plenty of rest and drink plenty of fluids, preferably water. Wash your hands with soap and warm to hot water for at least 30 seconds and try not to touch public objects. Seek medical treatment if you have any conditions that make you more at risk for complications or are not getting better after a few days.
The situation will be different depending on where you are located. The best thing to do is stay informed but don’t panic. Take precautions and get the right treatment if you get sick. There should be no reason not to continue on with life and be prepared.