Close-quarter living spaces spreads various illnesses


A month and a half ago, students moved into their residences halls, Greek houses, campus apartments and off-campus houses, ready to start the 2013-2014 school year.
This means that, for a month and a half, students have been living in close quarters with one another, increasing the risk of health issues and the spread of viruses.
Lately, an increasing number of students are sick.
Julie Howerton, director of health services, said the number of students who have been getting sick recently is usual for this time of year.
Close living quarters with people from all over the country is often why students seem to get sick when making the transition back to college, Howerton said.
Students often think another student is completely healthy and will share a drink with that person, but what they do not realize is “students may be immune to a cough or cold virus that another student from a different state is not,” Howerton said.
This is often why viruses spread so quickly.
Another reason students seem to get sick around the start of the school year is because their bodies are dealing with the transition.
“I definitely think that I get sick much easier at Butler than at home in Cincinnati,” said sophomore Maria Thaman, who recently picked up the mononucleosis virus. “This could stem from my being stressed more often at school than when I am in Cincinnati with my family.”
Students are often not able to handle the stress of school, get enough sleep, drink enough fluids and keep a nutritionally balanced diet.
Howerton said the best things students can do to stay healthy are drink water, get rest, use over-the-counter medications when needed, practice good hand washing and simply have common sense when it comes to hygiene.
“Listen to your body. If you are not taking care of your body, you are most susceptible to catching the virus going around campus,” Howerton said.
If students are feeling sick, they should visit the Health Center at the Health and Recreation Complex.
Students are able to schedule appointments on the secure web portal or walk into the clinic.
“I went to the Health Center when I was feeling ill, and they tested me for mono,” sophomore Liz Subrin said. “Although the results were negative, they helped me feel much better. It was a very effective visit.”
The Health Center has a full-time certified doctor, a nurse practitioner and three nurses who work everyday.
The Health Center also provides students with free flu shots.
There are flu shot clinics offered Oct. 2, 3 and 8 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Oct. 7 from noon to 4 p.m. and Oct. 9 from 2 to 6 p.m. in the HRC conference area.
If students cannot make these times, they may walk into the Health Center and receive a free shot at any other time.
“We would certainly recommend a flu shot, but the best protection is good balance, making good choices and working on adjusting to the college life,” Howerton said.


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