Cold and flu season has come, and COVID-19 won’t go away, according to campus health.
Students interact on campus in their classrooms, college dorms, and extracurricular activities, creating ideal conditions for spreading disease. Campus Health offers tips and resources to help students take care of themselves during the semester.
Courtney Hinton, associate medical director of campus health at North Carolina State, said reduced protection from COVID-19 also contributes to increased illness.
“Autumn and winter is the time when colds, flu, and illnesses in general can spread,” Hinton said. “And since we’re kind of starting to reduce some of our COVID protections, you add that by spending more time indoors overall, which is the perfect storm for colds and flu that hits us all.”
Hinton also said the college environment can lead to more illnesses because students come from different places. When they meet on campus, they bring all the possible viruses they’ve been exposed to previously.
Unlike the annual flu, Hinton said, students still face COVID-19, although it’s not as severe as previous years.
“I think we all understand that we each have to find our own ways to live with COVID-19,” Hinton said. “It doesn’t mean it’s no longer a serious disease. It sure is still dangerous. But we are fortunate that we see fewer people with the serious outcomes that we got when we didn’t have a lot of these protections.”
Remembering the basics of staying healthy is important to protect against potential disease, Hinton said. She encourages things like washing your hands, wearing a mask and staying home if you feel unwell.
“Practice being self-aware of your body,” Hinton said. “It could be something as simple as having a bit of a sore throat. It might be enough for you to stop for a bit and think, ‘Do I want to go to that social event that I planned to go to this evening, or do I want to miss that event and see how this develops?’” Sore throats are a great example of a symptom that can develop in many different ways.
Campos Health Center also highly recommends COVID-19 and flu shots to protect against viruses. Hinton said students can receive these on-campus vaccinations at the Campus Health Center, and many have already.
“I know there are many NC State students who have already started getting flu shots,” Hinton said. “I have a little more confidence in our flu vaccine coverage this year, because since we had flu season last year, I think creating a flu vaccine this year will be more based on what we’ve seen in the past year, and more based on what we see in other parts of the world. So I think that would be helpful.”
Hinton also reminded students to take advantage of the campus health center’s resources, including a fully functional pharmacy and robust over-the-counter selection.
Kayla Bashore, a graduate student in business administration, shares some tips when it comes to scheduling an appointment at Campos Wellness Center.
“…if appointments are not available, check once a day,” said Bashur. “Common appointment times are added on a daily basis.”
Bashour said she appreciates the amount of care the staff at the campus health center provides.
“This is one of the best student health centers I have visited in my teaching career,” said Bashur. “All staff take the time to solve problems, the pharmacy is very quick and can perform blood tests or lab tests on site for a quick turnaround.“
Learn more about Campus Health Center resources and sign up for a flu or COVID-19 vaccine over here.
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