The flu: Avoiding the influence

by Yoshiki Kasai – Horizon News and Features Editor



At Hesston, we’re in constant contact with each other. But recently, when I tried to greet my friend with a handshake, I was perplexed when he refused.

“I’m not gonna shake hands anymore because I don’t wanna get sick!” he said jokingly and seriously at the same time.

I was a little confused but soon understood his point. Why risk a handshake when the flu is running rampant?

While only a handful of students have reported having the flu to student life, many more students have experienced symptoms. Vicky Gunawan was one of them.

“I couldn’t even get out of my bed because I couldn’t move my body,” said Gunawan, a sophomore. “It was horrible because I couldn’t do any homework for three days!”

And Hesston is not alone. The flu has spread in many areas of the United States. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 30 states have experienced high levels of flu-like symptoms.

The most common symptoms of flu are fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, muscle pains, headaches, fatigue and vomiting. In rare cases, people can die from the flu. CNN Health states that around 90% of flu-related deaths occur in those people who are over 65.

While the consequences aren’t as extreme for college students, the flu is still a big concern. Living in close proximity, it’s pretty easy to transmit germs and viruses. And on a practical level, if you get flu, you cannot go to class, and absences can hurt your grades.

So what do you do to prevent getting it yourself? Here are three tips that can make a difference.

  1. Wash your hands.

    The next best thing to washing your hands with soap and hot water is sanitizing them with Purell before you go through the cafeteria line.

Washing your hands is probably the easiest thing you can do. I recommend you wash your hands before every meal. If you have flu virus on your hands and eat hamburgers without washing hands, you know what will happen. If you forget to wash your hands, at least sterilize them with the antibacterial products at the cafeteria door. Protect yourself and your peers.

2. Stay in your room if you have the flu.

Flu comes from the Italian word “influenza” which means influence. Another way you can avoid getting the flu is to keep away from people who have it. The influenza virus can be spread widely. Especially in a small community like Hesston College, the power of the virus can be great. If you’re sick, email your instructors and don’t go to class. If your roommate gets the flu, sleep somewhere else. Don’t put yourself where flu virus exists!

3. Sleep well.

This is perhaps the most important thing to avoid getting flu and simply to stay healthy. When you lack sleep, your immunity to the flu becomes weak. Once your immunity gets weak, the risk of infection gets higher. So, if you have time to play video games or to watch movies after 12 a.m., you have time for better sleep.

To be successful in college, you need to study hard, but first of all, you need to stay healthy. Sometimes flu virus is stronger than your immunity, but follow the three tips above to decrease the risk of infection. For more tips, see the informational poster in the Larks Nest.

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