As the new semester of college rolls around the corner, a new outbreak of winter sickness hits the students and faculty of Bloomsburg University. Why does it happen? Can we prevent it? What can we do to heal ourselves if we do become sick?
I spoke to Terina Oman, a nurse practitioner whom has worked at Bloomsburg University for over 10 years. Oman informed me about the flu season here at Bloomsburg University. The sickness usually starts when everybody comes back to school after winter break. She then gave me several reasons why people get a cold or catch the flu.
“People are more likely to stay indoors during the winter due to the cold weather, therefore, people are in close quarter conditions.”
She also told me that people who eat poorly, don’t get enough sleep, drink, do drugs, and do not practice proper hygiene are more likely to become sick as their immune system is vulnerable. I agreed with her on that these conditions fit the profile of many college students.
The Medical Center is usually booked solid all year round, but during flu season, there are significantly more calls in to make appointments. Sometimes there are appointments made as far as two days in advance. Omen tells her patients that eating healthy and drinking many fluids is the best way to rid yourself of the flu.
“Medicine can also be obtained to help with the symptoms that many students face with the flu.” Omen said.
Oman typically gives away ibuprofen and Tylenol to help with pain, and cough syrup to help out with coughs. The medical center also taught me a little secret of gargling salt water to help sore throats. The medical center is a great resource and can be utilized for free for any BU student.
I also spoke with many students from other colleges and university to see if sickness just affects Bloomsburg. Six out of eight students said that during January and February, a very large percentage of students become sick. I spoke Sarah Divine, a student at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford. She described how her entire apartment complex was sick within two weeks of getting back from winter break.
“I just don’t understand how we become sick since we have already been living with each other for the fall semester.”
Nurse Oman sayid that the introduction of new students during the spring semester is a major source of new viruses that spread throughout campus of any college.
Sarah also spoke of the toll that being sick in college has on your life.
“Not only do I feel sick and don’t want to do anything like go out or socialize, but it causes me to miss class which is very bad for someone in my situation. I can miss a lot of important information by missing only one class.”
Another University of Pittsburgh student, Devon Jackson said, “I remember a week after coming back for winter break, I went to class and there were only about a third of students there with me.”
However, as flu season comes to an end, we can all return to our normal health and reflect. Maybe next year, we will be more prepared for the inevitable sickness. And maybe we can take that extra precaution, so we can save ourselves from missing class, and getting that better grade we as students strive for.
(Image by Steady Health)