PULLMAN –The number of students going to WSU Health & Wellness Services (HWS) for the flu in the last two weeks is more than triple the number of the last three months combined.
“We’ve diagnosed 28 students with influenza since the beginning of March. It’s a mixture of type A and B, and other clinics in the area as well as the hospital have also seen an increase in the number of flu patients,” said Dr. Bruce Wright, director of HWS. “I’ve had a few phone calls from faculty wondering if there’s a new illness going around campus. But it isn’t something new, just a late flu season. This comes at a terrible time for students who are trying to finish up mid-terms and head out of town for spring break, but staff and faculty should be aware this is happening and take precautions for themselves.”
HWS has 30 doses of flu vaccine left, and any students who are considered high-risk should come in to get vaccinated. It’s not too late. High-risk patients include children, the elderly and individuals any age with chronic health conditions. Flu season can begin as early as October and continue into the spring months. And while flu outbreaks usually peak around January, the peak this year is coming later.
“I would encourage everyone to wash their hands frequently, cover their coughs, avoid close contact with infected persons and stay home if you’re sick,” said Robert Stephenson, nurse manager at HWS.
For students who do catch a cold or the flu, HWS offers urgent care during regular office hours, Saturdays and most holidays, as well as a 24-hour nurse hotline. For more information about taking care of yourself if you have the flu, visit www.hws.wsu.edu.