Students, don’t fall for the flu

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Natasha Knox, a sophomore studying pratical nursing

from Rolling Fork prepares a practice flu shot for William

Payne, a freshman studying practical nursing from Coldwater.

(Photo by Teresa Andrews)

Written by News Writing and Reporting Class

A chill is in the air, leaves are turning red and gold and a chorus of sneezing, coughing and sniffles can be heard throughout the classrooms on campus. Not only is it distracting to those trying to listen, but it can be hard to learn anything if you are feeling poorly. With cold and flu season upon us, it is best to take steps to prevent the spread of germs before landing your own coughing solo mid-algebra class.

According to the Washington Post, since 2011 there have been 332 flu-related deaths in the U.S., reaching epidemic status in the 2014-2015 season. To be considered an epidemic, 6.8 percent of those diagnosed died. Here are some health tips to avoid becoming a statistic.

First, stay clean. Be sure to keep hands washed or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. While washing, use soap and running water for at least 20 seconds or the time it takes to hum the Happy Birthday song twice. Keep hands away from your face and wipe down any surface touched on a regular basis with disinfectant cleansers or a clean towel.

An article from CDC.gov said, “Just like your hands, your living spaces are frequently touched and can harbor germs causing you to become ill.” It shows that any little thing people touch, could be the main factor in contracting the flu.

“Always be sure to keep your hands washed and be mindful of germs,” Peyton Tower, a sophomore studying nursing from Hernando, said. “An easy way to do this is carry portable hand sanitizer or wipes to avoid picking up or spreading germs.”

Visit a doctor or a pharmacy store for information on how to get vaccinated for the flu virus.

“The key to prevention is getting the flu shot. One year, I got the flu even after the vaccination, so my husband and kids took Tamiflu to prevent being infected,” Erin Harrell, a psychiatric nurse practitioner from St. Francis Hospital in Memphis, said. “The most important things I stress to my kids during flu season is hand-washing and covering coughs, but nothing can replace the flu shot.”

Another way to steer clear of the flu is through antiviral drugs. Medications are prescription pills, liquids or inhalers used to prevent or treat flu viruses. According to flu.gov, there are four antiviral drugs approved for fighting the flu in the U.S.—oseltamivir (Tamiflu), zanamivir (Relenza), amantadine (Symmetrel) and rimantadine (Flumadine). Talk to a doctor for more information on taking these medications.

Lastly, protect yourself from any illness by taking care of your mind and body. Protein is vital to any diet when it comes to keeping healthy. Avoid artificial chemicals and junk food, and start taking a daily vitamin. Also, try to avoid stress and get a good night’s sleep consisting of at least seven to eight hours. Without sleep or time to relax, the immune system can weaken and make a person more vulnerable to viruses.

The site huffingtonpost.com recommends an hour of daily exercise, because it can increase the activity of a type of white blood cell that attacks viruses.

“Get immunized, get plenty of Vitamin C and B12 and try to get enough rest so your immune system is at its best,” Alisha Todd, a nursing aid at Asera Care Hospice in Senatobia, said. “If you start having symptoms, treat fever with Tylenol, treat cough and congestion with Robitussin and see your family physician.”

This is written by the News Writing & Reporting class that includes Teresa Andrews, Freddy Lard Jr., Corey McKinney, Kelly Talley, Bethany Underwood and Kasey Woitesek.

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