Juliette St. Romain
The typical flu season takes place between October and March each year, and the University of Mississippi Student Health Center is very familiar with it.
Each year, the health center sees many students who complain of a sore throat or body aches. Body aches are the number one flu symptom.
“Fever, cough – it is all respiratory,” said nurse Tami Armstrong. “You can have a sore throat, but when a student comes in and they say, ‘I have body aches,’ then they’re getting a flu test.”
Armstrong is about to celebrate her eighth year at the student health center this December. Two years earlier, she was a school nurse at a local Oxford school.
“I like the student population and the teaching part that the students get,” she said. “I get a lot out of it.”
Last year alone, the center saw at least 25 students daily over the course of three weeks during the flu season. Ways to prevent the flu are very simple. The number one way is with a flu vaccine, which is highly recommended over the nasal mist.
Dr. Marshall Crowther said flu mist, for the past two years, has not been recommended.
“Studies have shown that it was not effective at all,” he said. “It is not even available anymore, because of that. So, the only flu vaccine that is recommended now is the flu vaccine in shot form.
“We had a fairly significant outbreak last early spring and late winter. You can have bad flu seasons, but sometimes they are hard to predict.”
The outbreak has not been bad this year, he said.
“We have seen a handful of cases, but certainly not to the point where we would call it an outbreak or anything like that,” he said. “We are not sure when the flu outbreak is going to hit.”
Some common ways to prevent the flu are frequent hand washing and proper coughing etiquette. This is bending your elbow and coughing into it.
“In the respiratory droplets, if you are within six feet of that person, then you can get the flu,” he said, “but if you are more than six feet away, usually those droplets do not reach the individual.”
The health center on Rebel Drive encourages students with symptoms to come Monday through Friday.