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Health Services gives cold season advice

October 28, 2011

UW–River Falls Health Services is preparing for the upcoming flu season by promoting various ways to keep faculty and students healthy.

With the cold winter months soon arriving, Health Services at UWRF have begun to encourage faculty and students to get flu shots and practice good hygiene.

Some of these practices that are being promoted include washing your hands with soap and water, using alcohol-based cleaners and covering your mouth while you cough or sneeze.

“We want to remind students that they should stay home if they are sick,” said Alice Reilly-Myklebust, director of Student Health Services. “A rule to follow is to wait 24 hours after you no longer have a fever to go back to class or work.”

Free cold kits are available in Health Services, and have been handed out at events they have attended. These kits include Kleenex, cough drops, Tylenol, thermometers and instructions of good hygiene practices.

According to a Health Services email that was sent out to all students, faculty and staff, “Healthy individuals who develop influenza symptoms do not need to seek medical attention. Those with underlying medical conditions who develop influenza symptoms should contact their health care provider.”

“If someone has asthma or some condition similar, they should see a doctor,” said Myklebust. “The nasal spray contains a live virus while the shot contains a dead virus; both are equally effective.”

Some students have already begun to prepare for the flu season and are making preparations to get a flu shot or nasal spray. “I’ll probably get one,” said Marissa Holst, a psychology major at UWRF, “I don’t want to get sick.”

“My mom is a nurse and gives the whole family flu shots,” said Alexis D’Aquisto, an English education major at UWRF.

Other students have chosen to not get a shot or nasal spray though. “I probably won’t get one,” said Molly Stafne, a pre-veterinarian major at UWRF. “I’d prefer the shot over the nasal spray if I did though.”

This year’s flu shot is the same that was given last year and contains the H1N1 virus from 2009 as well as two other influenza strains. Those who get the shot are reminded that it takes about “two weeks for antibodies that provide protection against the influenza virus infection to develop in the body,” according to the Health Services email sent to students and faculty.

Also, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website as of Oct. 15, “Influenza activity remained low in the United States.”