Flu season is here

Nov 062003
Authors: Jesse McLain

Influenza has broken out earlier than expected this year and

with greater intensity, as five cases at CSU were diagnosed

Wednesday alone.

“It’s very rare to see it hit so hard so early in November,”

said Lisa Duggan, immunization and infection control nurse for

Hartshorn Health Services. “They’ve been saying this is going to be

a bad flu season.”

The flu causes 36,000 deaths a year and its typical season runs

from November to March. Most frequently the flu will result in

pneumonia, which will in turn result in death, said Ann Watson, a

health education supervisor for the Larimer County Department of


Even though college students don’t typically fall into the

highest risk for fatalities due to the flu, it is always a

possibility, Watson said.

“There is always a possibility that they could develop

complications,” she said.

Hartshorn is offering students and faculty the chance to prevent

illness through a flu-shot that is offered Monday thru Friday from

9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m.

The shot costs $12 for students and $18 for faculty, a price

that for most is well worth it, Duggan said.

“I got one my freshman year and didn’t get one my sophomore

year, and I got the flu. I felt like hell for three days,” said

Jennifer Koentges, a senior psychology major. “It took me 20

minutes to even get up to call in to work. I could see my phone

right there. I could not reach out and grab it.”

Duggan also advocates the shot.

“I’d much rather give them the shot than treat them for the

flu,” Duggan said.

Duggan has already given 1,900 doses of the flu shot in the past

several days and has seen seven cases of the flu diagnosed so far.

Duggan also emphasized that the earlier in the season a shot is

received the better.

“The earlier the better because the shot takes two weeks to take

effect,” Duggan said. “You never know when it’s gonna hit.”

If students are exposed to the flu before they have had a

vaccination, they can still be treated up to 48 hours after

infection. Students can be given medicine to help them reduce their

symptoms and the length of their illness

Webber Junior High School in Fort Collins has already seen the

flu cause large absences in its student body, which consists of

approximately 970 seventh through ninth graders.

“At one point we were up to about 20 percent (in absences),”

said Dan Cox, science teacher and administrative intern at Webber.

“If kids are sick we are saying to keep them home.”

No matter how many seem to be ill, the faculty at Webber is

determined that the learning process not be interrupted.

“We’re still learning here,” Cox said. “We’re dealing with the

absences the best ways we can.”

Apparently the recent rise in media attention to the flu

outbreak has caused some students to become more active in getting

their flu vaccination.

“Everyone has been seeing this information on the TV,” Duggan

said. “So they’re all running in to get their shots.”

As the flu season intensifies, some believes a vaccine is the

best solution.

It wasn’t fun, I wasn’t happy,” Koentges said. “I’m a big

advocate of the flu shot.”




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