Feeling the flu blues

You rush into class, already 10 minutes late to the midterm you stayed up untill 4 a.m. studying for.

You sit in the last available seat and the professor gives you the stink eye before he plops your exam on to your desk.

You stare at the page, trying to determine how the chemical economy of the cell affects…”ACHOO!”

And there you have it. You sat next to the sick-as-a-dog girl. The person that sneezes every five minutes then pulls out a tissue and blows into it like a dolphin breaching the surface of the water.

The one who inhales and sounds like a walrus gasping for air and sounds like your grandpa snoring.

There goes your midterm. And next week, you’ll be that sick-as-a-dog boy because you asked to borrow her pencil and forgot to wash your hands after.

Midterms are right around the corner, and along with them comes the dreaded flu season.

For a college student, getting sick is particularly bothersome, but it can also be a common occurrence.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, anywhere from 5 percent to 20 percent of the population gets the flu every year.

It’s all due to the nature of our environment. The influenza virus is a contagious respiratory disease that’s spread from person to person and the academic setting is conducive to the spread of that and other air-borne viruses.

Once the weather begins to get colder out, people migrate inside and our closer proximities to one another encourage the spread of illness.

When the person sitting next to you coughs or sneezes, the germs they leave behind on any surface can be picked up and infect you when you touch your
nose or mouth.

That’s why health experts say it’s so important to cover your mouth or nose and wash your hands often during this time.

As a chemistry major, Ben Liss finds that the disruption from sick students in class can make him lose focus.

“I know a lot of people are getting sick because of the weather changing,” Liss said.

“But if people are sneezing and coughing in class, I can’t concentrate.”

The CDC lists the symptoms of the flu to include high fever, headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose and muscles aches.

Both the Health and Wellness Office at St. John’s and the CDC agree that the best preventative measurement is to get the flu vaccination each fall.

The flu season can begin in October and usually reaches its peak in January.

Last year after a student came down with the STAPH virus, dispensers of hand-sanitizing liquid were placed in various buildings around the Queens campus, including the lobbies of the Residence Village housing.

The gel sanitizers, or alcohol-based disposable hand wipes, are a good alternative when soap and water is not available and should be used often by students hoping to keep healthy.

If you are already sick, store-brand over- the- counter medicines can fit into any college student’s budget.

Though these store-brands can be suspiciously inexpensive, their quality is equivalent to their brand-name counterparts.

The reason being, a company spends large sums of money on research and development but after the patent expires years later, generic drugs can be manufactured at a lesser cost.

The extra two or three dollars you’re spending on the brand-name meds can be better spent on disinfectants for your apartment or dorm room.