KALAMAZOO, Mich.—With reports of an increase in confirmed influenza cases, Western Michigan University students and employees are encouraged to take precautions to avoid getting or spreading the flu.
Dr. Lisa Marshall, director of WMU's Sindecuse Health Center, says there are steps members of the campus community can take to limit the spread of seasonal flu. At the top of the list are taking everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs and, for those who have not already done so, getting an influenza vaccination. Vaccinations are available at Sindecuse Health Center for students, faculty and staff members, and dependents. Appointments may be made at (269) 387-3287 or wmich.edu/healthcenter.
Marshall adds that people experiencing flu-like illness should not overreact.
"You don't need go to your doctor's office or the emergency room. Most people don't need medical care or antiviral drugs," she says. "You can do self-care if your symptoms are mild and you're not at risk for flu-related complications."
Those who should see a medical provider at the onset of symptoms are individuals at risk for flu-related complications—young children, elderly people, pregnant women and people with certain long-term medical conditions, such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease.
prevent the spread of flu
- Avoid close contact with those who are sick.
- Practice good health habits: Drink plenty of fluids, eat nutritiously, get plenty of sleep, be physically active and manage stress.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for about 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs.
- If you get sick, stay home and keep your distance from others.
- When coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with your sleeve, or use a tissue and dispose of it immediately.
No-cost flu shots for students
Uninsured and underinsured students are eligible for no-cost flu shots made possible by a grant from Alana's Foundation. Those who are interested should inform the registration staff at the Sindecuse Health Center upon arriving for their appointment.
For seasonal flu information, visit the Sindecuse Health Center at wmich.edu/healthcenter/clinic/flu-prevention.
For comprehensive information about influenza, how to reduce its spread and what to do if you become ill, visit the CDC at cdc.gov/flu.
For more WMU news, arts and events, visit wmich.edu/news.