It's Officially Flu Season in Syracuse


Sick_MAIN You hear it in the back of your class while you’re taking a test. You hear it as you walk down the halls, weaving through swarms of people. You hear it in the bathroom as you wash your hands. The coughing, the sniffling, the sneezing — it’s the flu and it’s taking over Syracuse University.

It’s hard to say when exactly it started, but this flu season is rapidly snowballing (pun intended). It has affected hundreds of students and faculty alike, and is likely to impact many more in the coming weeks. The combination of the cold weather and the close proximity of, well, everyone, creates a breeding ground for sickness. Classes have been growing smaller and work is going undone as students wrap themselves in blankets and wait it out.

The easy transfer of the disease from one person to another has made controlling the disease hard, especially for students who have not received the flu shot. Though for some students, not getting a flu shot has its reasons. “There are so many different strains of the flu,” says freshman biotechnology major Sam Wilder, “there’s no point in getting one.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last year that the flu shot only protects against 40 percent of flu strains. Therefore, even going through the pain and effort of getting a shot (or perhaps going for the more gentle flu mist) might not even pay off come wintertime.

Furthermore, recent Greek events may have contributed to the outbreak. Events such as girls’ recruitment are the perfect setting to pass an illness, due to the excessive handshaking and the sheer amount of girls crammed into each house. Some girls could be seen slathering their hands with sanitizer between houses, though not much else could be done, especially when one is shaking ten different hands a house and sitting close to potentially sick people.

Flu season could not come at a worse time, as classes begin to get serious, tests and assignments begin to pile up, and students begin to get more involved or participate in extracurriculars. The amount of sick days and missing students in classes has both faculty and students worried about their academic success.

If you are lucky and haven’t felt a runny nose or sore throat come on, don’t assume you’ve dodged the bullet. Try and maintain a healthy lifestyle with exercise, balanced eating, and good hygiene (as impossible as it is for any college student). Washing your hands regularly and using hand sanitizer after contact with someone are all good ways to prevent getting sick.

And if you currently find yourself sweating out a fever under a mountain of tissues, don’t be a hero — take your medicine and stay at home. Trust me, everyone will thank you.

Photo by Adham Elsharkawi