The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

How students can stop spreading flu

By John Harden/sports editor

The flu has given most Americans a good reason to miss work and school, but for the rest of us, the flu has us looking for ways to avoid infection.

People may think they won’t get sick if they avoid anyone who’s sick. Easy, right?

Nope.

The flu virus can last on surfaces for hours and remains a threat long after the infected person leaves. Touching anything with the flu virus on it and then touching your mouth or nose can result in an infection.

It’s nearly impossible to avoid physical contact with others and the things they touch. But with modern medicine and a bit of good hygiene, the chances of an infection decrease significantly.

“The best thing to do is to get the flu shot,” said NE health services coordinator Pat Marling. “No matter how old you are, you should get one.”

Health services recommends getting the flu shot, but the shot isn’t 100 percent effective against catching the flu.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the vaccines are about 85 percent effective in preventing the disease in healthy young adults. In the elderly and people with certain chronic medical conditions, the vaccines are less effective in preventing illness but help reduce the duration of an infection and the risk of death.

Currently, no specific cure for influenza exists. Recommended treatment usually consists of bed rest and increased intake of nonalcoholic fluids until fever and other symptoms lessen. 

Certain drugs have been found effective in lessening flu symptoms, but everyone should also focus on the lessons our mothers taught us when we were young. The flu can be exchanged by not practicing proper hygiene.

“The number one thing that can prevent the spread of diseases is hand washing,” Marling said. “Germs are everywhere, on door knobs, computers and other people’s hands.”

According to the American Society of Microbiology, a national survey found that Americans were more likely to say they washed their hands after changing a diaper or before handling food. But most admitted to not washing their hands after sneezing or coughing.

Failing to wash your hands after sneezing and coughing into them puts others at risk of infection.

“Most of the time people cover their mouth and cough into their hands, but sometimes it’s not really a good idea to do that because the flu can be spread by the things we touch,” Marling said.

To decrease the chances of infection, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends washing your hands regularly with warm, soapy water for 15 seconds.

Some young children can easily spread the flu, so it’s important to teach them proper hygiene techniques before they can adopt bad habits.

“In England, a study was done where they only vaccinated school children and no one else,” Marling said. “And they saw a huge decrease in the number of flu cases. It’s important to teach little kids how to be clean because they’re like little melting pots of germs.”

Despite taking the necessary precautions, sometimes an infection can still occur.

It’s recommended that a doctor is seen within 48 hours when an infection becomes apparent.

“You should see a doctor right away if you feel like you’re getting sick and if you’ve come in contact with someone you know is affected,” Marling said. “They can’t cure the flu, but they can treat the symptoms like coughing, aches and pains, congestion and fever.”

The flu can last for days and even weeks, and one of the best things a person can do is stay in bed and rest.

“When you’re sick, it’s best to eat right, stay home and drink enough fluids,” Marling said. “When you’re sick, the only thing you can do is wait until it’s over.”

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