Butler students fend off current flu season

Photo by Adam Cvik.

JACKSON BORMAN | STAFF REPORTER | jborman@butler.edu

The Butler community as well as the Indianapolis community are now officially in flu season. This year’s strain of influenza can be stopped almost entirely by the vaccine, but some students have already been hit with seasonal sicknesses.

Health services have diagnosed a number of cases of the flu over the past week. Symptoms include a fever over 100 degrees, body aches, chills, fatigue, a cough and in a few cases, diarrhea and nausea.

Dr. Maria Fletcher is one of the staff members of the HRC’s health services office. She recommended that everyone be treated with the vaccine if they have the opportunity.

“Besides the nasty health effects, to buy the medicine to treat the flu itself you may have to pay a couple of hundred dollars,” Fletcher said. “Why risk that when you can get the shot for free? It’s just a shot.”

The health services office is almost out of flu shots, but students should check with local pharmacies who typically will also give the vaccines out for free.

First-year biology and education major Emily Dworak was one of the students who received a flu shot from the HRC.

“I don’t like shots, but they said I should get one,” Dworak said. “The nurse came in and I still wasn’t sure about it. I hated the shot, but I survived and it didn’t hurt that bad.”

On top of getting a shot, there are other ways that students can protect themselves from catching the flu. Health services put out a flu poster that is online as well as posted in print in bathrooms and other common areas around campus.

Students are advised to wash their hands frequently, cover their mouths when sneezing and coughing, and to keep from touching their face as much as possible to stop the spread of germs.

If the flu is contracted, students are encouraged to distance themselves from contact with others for 24 hours.

“If you come within six feet of someone, you are susceptible to catching whatever they have,” Fletcher said. “Some students will still go to class even if they are sick, but really they are putting their classmates in danger of getting the flu as well.”

First-year education major Cole Schulte was sick for the majority of last week and followed Fletcher’s advice.

“I did not go to class yesterday,” Schulte said. “I’ve been sleeping way more than I usually do too, which keeps me from going to the HRC and doing other things I enjoy.”

According to the Indiana State Department of Health, the flu season peaked in late December, but there is still a risk of contracting the illness. As of Jan. 21, there were nine influenza related deaths in the state during this flu season; however, those cases were primarily in people over the age of 65 or in patients with already damaged immune systems.