By Jeremy Moser | firstname.lastname@example.org
Flu season is well underway, and Radford University responded by issuing a flu advisory via email, Thursday, Feb. 14, listing ways students can help protect themselves from the virus.
Flu season began in October and will last until May. During this time, people are much more likely to catch and spread the disease.
The email lists known flu-like symptoms and encourages students to stay home should they be experiencing them. The symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, fatigue, headache, chills and body aches.
The instructions also suggest afflicted students visit the Student Health Center in the lower level of Moffett Hall and take steps to prevent the spread of the disease.
What to Do
These steps include covering the nose and mouth during a sneeze, washing hands often, avoiding contact with those who are sick, disinfecting surfaces, refraining from touching one’s eyes and mouth, drinking plenty of fluids and getting plenty of rest.
The advisory also recommends staying at home 24 hours after the symptoms have disappeared. This is to minimize the chance of spreading the disease to other students.
The influenza virus is more commonplace and therefore treated less seriously. However, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is still responsible for tens of thousands of deaths each season.
As of Feb. 9, the CDC reported that between 15.4 million and 17.8 million Americans had caught the flu, and between 11,600 and 19,100 people have died of the disease this flu season.
While it has been particularly bad these past few weeks, the numbers of this flu season are small compared to the numbers of last year. According to Popular Science, the 2017-18 flu season saw 48.8 million afflicted and 79,000 deaths.
Part of the reason this year is not as bad as last year is both the popularity and effectiveness of the flu vaccine. The CDC says that last year, only about 37 percent of Americans got their flu vaccine last year. Additionally, the vaccine was only around 36 percent effective.
This year, nearly 44.9 percent of adults have been vaccinated, and the vaccine is about 47 percent effective. Most vaccines average out at just below 50 percent efficacy, and on a good year, it barely hits 60 percent.