If you’re feeling a little above the weather this flu season, you’re not the only one, according to Hartshorn Health Center.
“We’ve only had four cases of flu since Jan. 1, and only one case before Christmas,” said Lisa Duggan, the immunization coordinator for the health center. “It has been a mild flu season so far here on campus.”
Last January, 21 students reported to the health center with flu-like symptoms, leaving many people wondering why it spreads in some years and not in others.
“It has been a mild winter, people are spending a lot more time outside,” Duggan said. “Because the flu is transmitted by person-to-person contact, it is more likely to spread when people stay inside.”
The number of flu vaccinations given this year is also higher than last year. Around 2,000 vaccinations were given this year at CSU compared to only 1,600 last year. This may also explain the decrease in flu cases, Duggan said.
The decrease in flu cases is not limited to CSU. Poudre Valley School District is not seeing very many cases of flu in their students either.
“We have had no reports [of flu] in large cases,” said Ellen Alubhan, the director of communications for Poudre Valley Schools.
In fact, Larimer County has only had 12 reported cases of flu through January, said Laurie Maldonado, a spokesperson for the Colorado State Health Department.
“This is a typical flu season right now due to colder weather and people staying inside,” Maldonado said. She said that statewide there have been “265 reported cases with 155 coming in the last week.”
Maldonado said February and March are peak months for the flu season, which might explain the serious incline in reported cases statewide last week.
“It’s not too late to get protected though,” Duggan said. “The flu shot takes two weeks before it takes effect, but you can never tell when the flu is going to hit campus and how hard.”
Good advice when considering the students of Trinidad School District in southern Colorado.
With roughly 33 percent of their students out with the flu, the School Board and State Health Department in Trinidad decided to shut down district operations last Wednesday. It is scheduled to re-open today.
“One-third of children enrolled in the district were out last week,” said Laurie Galasso, an employee with the Trinidad School District.
“With so many (students) out and so many more in the emergency room, the State Health Department and the School Board decided it would be best if they canceled school for the rest of the week,” Galasso said. “This would give the kids a chance to rest and reduce to the risk of (the flu) being transferred even more.”
For some here at CSU it is already too late. Greg Boiarsky, a professor with the department of journalism and technical communication, was one of the unlucky few who caught the flu this year.
“I felt terrible. I was cold and my skin hurt. I thought I was just tired, but when I woke up (the next day) I knew I was sick,” Boiarsky said.
It could have been a lot worse for Boiarsky, who said he received the flu shot earlier this year.
“The flu shot can’t guarantee you won’t get sick, but if you do come down with the flu, (the shot) makes it less severe,” Boiarsky said.
For some students though, the flu shot does not seem to make much sense.
“I don’t get the (flu shot), and I never get the flu,” said Jimmy Ahern, a freshman psychology major. “In fact, I can’t remember the last time I got sick, it probably was when I was still in elementary school,”
However, for Boiarsky, who is recovering from the flu, it is a different story.
“I managed to avoid (the flu) for two years, but I got it this year,” he said. “Don’t get (the flu), just get a flu shot.”