The influenza virus hit early this year, according to information released by the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency. Normally, the flu does not peak until sometime in January. This season, however, the virus caught everyone off guard with a strong appearance starting in December.
Point Loma was also affected by this especially potent sickness. Dr. Charles Hardison, a physician in Point Loma’s Wellness Center, says that there were two times the number of flu diagnoses on campus during the first week of the 2018 spring semester, compared to the entire month of January last year. “When you look at the comparative years, this seems to be more of a public health situation because it’s rapidly spreading in such high numbers,” said Hardison.
Madison Elick, a senior nonprofit management major, got the flu, and says, “For me, it started with a massive headache and pain that went all the way down my neck to my back, to my legs. Then a cough started to develop along with other things. Sadly, I went to the doctor too late, as it was past the 48 hour mark since my first sign of symptoms where the medicine helps. The doctor said it lasts two to three weeks and the best thing to do is stay hydrated and rest.”
Hardison confirms the importance of visiting the doctor promptly, saying, “You don’t want to stop your life for 10 days in a bad case of the flu, so I think the important thing is to recognize it early, and get treatment.” If you think that you might have the flu, Hardison says to keep a lookout for normal cold symptoms, paired with the body aches and fever that make the flu unique.
When it comes to sickness prevention, common sense is key. Wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your eyes and mouth, and try to keep your distance from those who are sick.
Beyond that, it could still be helpful to get the flu vaccine. Dr. Kris Koudelka, an associate professor of biology at PLNU, receives the flu shot every year and this is the first year he’s been sick with the flu in a decade. Koudelka says, “Every time there’s a flu vaccine, they’re trying to predict that six to nine months ahead of time, and it kind of missed this time.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that normally, the flu vaccine is between 40-60% effective. Despite this year’s influenza vaccine being less helpful, getting the flu vaccine every year is probably still a good idea overall.
Visit the Wellness Center to get your flu shot (a $25 fee to your student account), or go to a pharmacy such as CVS or Walgreens (prices vary depending on insurance).