By Andrew Ayala
The sounds of phlegm-clogged lungs and mucus-filled noses welcome students as they return to class for the spring semester.
Many others have either recovered from being sick or haven’t gotten sick at all. Whatever the case is, students who are sick should re-evaluate going to school and if they must, they should take the proper precautions in order to prevent spreading an infection.
Flu season in California typically lasts from September to April, which is a good chunk of the year to have an infection spreading. The latest report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website, which is from February 6 through 8, says that there have been 328 influenza-coded deaths from the Flu since Sep. 29 and 94 outbreaks.
An influenza-coded death is a death in California among residents who had influenza noted in any cause of death field on the death certificate. This can become a larger problem if students don’t take care of themselves and those they come into contact with daily.
“Students should maintain a social distance of one meter to three feet between individuals who are coughing or have a fever, practice good respiratory hygiene by covering their mouths with a tissue or sleeves (never using hands) when coughing or sneezing and use alcohol based sanitizer (that has at least 60%) if soap and water are unavailable,” said Michelle Quon, family practitioner nurse from Via Care for the East Los Angeles College Health Center.
“If students are sick, they should stay home unless seeking professional medical care, in order to prevent the spread of infection.”
There is a reason why work gives people sick days and professors leave an email or phone number to call when there is an emergency. If the infection is already in a student’s body, then they are unknowingly spreading it as well.
Just because students are asymptomatic doesn’t mean they are safe. If students don’t take the proper rest, relaxation and medication, then they can extend the period that they are sick for. A flu that is properly treated will last a few days or so as opposed to the couple of weeks it would take for someone who isn’t trying to help their body fight off the infection.
The CDC website also has a few key messages that say, “Flu activity remains elevated in California. Flu A (H1)pdm09 viruses are now the predominant virus in California, but B (Victoria) viruses are still circulating. Since September 29, 2019, 12 influenza-associated pediatric deaths have been reported.”
Students can easily take initiative by getting a flu shot, but if you are against that, then at least try and stop the spread of these deadly infections. Sneezing into an elbow, wearing a mask when a cough or sore throat is present, carrying hand sanitizer and cough drops and taking Dayquil or some other form of medicine are some of the simplest ways to aid in the fight against the flu.
“There is this little paper in the health center that students fill out. They circle what they need and show proof that their health fee is paid,” said Jocelyn Chun, a receptionist at the ELAC Health Center.
“We give students hand sanitizer… wipes, tissue and ice packs…Students should take care of themselves because they don’t want sickness to affect their education or mess up attendance and homework assignments,” Chun said.