Hazen handles flu outbreak

Hazen Health Center deals with outbreak of 350-375 cases of the flu. Photo: courtesy of The Stylus via thestylus.net.

By Curt Case

The College at Brockport has a flu outbreak with 350-375 students diagnosed with the flu since the beginning of the Spring 2017 semester.

The flu outbreak started in late January and has continued to steadily increase since then.

“The vast majority of what we have been doing is through phone triage,” said Lynne E. Maier, Clinic Coordinator of Health and Counseling Services at Hazen Center. “We have sent out emails to students asking if they had specific flu symptoms not to come to the health center. It’s not that we don’t want to see those students. They are always welcome here. It’s because the flu is a virus there is no magic pill to give to make it go away.”

The staff of Health and Counseling Services at Hazen Center are asking students not to go to classes or work until they are fever free for 24 hours. This means their temperature must be under 100 without medicine such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen.

Symptoms of the flu are a cough, a fever, body aches and a sore throat. A sore throat doesn’t have to be present but usually is.

“This year we are seeing a lot of nausea. Some vomiting but a lot of nausea which is different than in past years,” Maier said.

The best treatment for someone who has the flu is getting rest, fluids and treatment of the symptoms. Dayquil and Nightquil helps with congestion. Maier encourages students with body aches to throw some Ibuprofen in there too. It’s a system management of hot steamy showers, rest, and staying home.

“This year is a lighter strain. In past years I would tell students to be down and out for seven days,” Maier said. “This year seems to be more four to five. It can go up to seven but it seems that most students are fever free in three to four days but sometimes need a day to rest because of fatigue. The body aches get you. I call it getting run over by a truck. Your hair hurts, your finger nails hurt, and your skin hurts when it touches your clothes. That takes a little bit of time once the fever passed to recover from. Typically five days.”

Influenza A is the name of the flu that infected Brockport. Influenza A is actually in the flu vaccine but the flu vaccine is only 60 to 70 percent effective. It’s a calculated guess on what strains to put in the flu shot to prevent its path.

Brockport isn’t the only school suffering. Other local campuses in the area have been hit with it also.

The Health and Counseling Services at Hazen Center for Integrated Care offer student flu shot clinics in the fall. Last Fall five clinics were held where they gave out 600 vaccines which was low for the school. The school normally does 800 but the health center had to throw away 200 doses of the shot because students didn’t want them and the health center couldn’t get rid of them.

“This year we decreased our number because it’s an expensive vaccine. We only bought 600 doses but then we ran out of them really quickly so next year they are ordering 900 doses,” Maier said.

Hazen will try to market the flu shots more in the clinic and try to give it to students who are coming in for clinic visits, not just in the big outreach programs on campus.

The pharmacy still has the vaccine and if students come in for a physical or a healthy visit the staff encourages them to go over to Wegmans as soon as they leave to get a flu shot.

Be sure to check out @Brockportbeat on Twitter for more news and updates.

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