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Health and Wellness reports sharp decline in cases

PULLMAN – Staff members at Health and Wellness Services on the WSU campus have seen a sharp decline in recent days in the number of students complaining of influenza-like symptoms.
The clinic had contact with 29 students complaining of influenza symptoms Wednesday (10 phone conversations with a nurse, nine patients who chose to self-care after talking with a nurse in the clinic and 10 patients who saw a physician), and 33 on Tuesday.
Since last Friday, the clinic has been contacted by 190 students, fewer than were in contact with the clinic on the busiest day at the height of the outbreak two weeks ago. Health and Wellness is providing updates on the campus flu situation and answering questions about the flu on its blog at https://hws.wsu.edu/blog/default.asp
“While it would be premature to say that the flu is no longer a health issue for our students, the trend is moving in the right direction,” said Dr. Bruce Wright, director of Health and Wellness Services. “To maintain that, we encourage people to keep following the guidelines to avoid spreading the flu and not to attend classes or other events if they are sick.”
Campus health officials continue to say that the vast majority of the cases have been mild, generally lasting from three to five days. Based on the current trend of contacts, they estimate that about 1 percent of students on the Pullman campus currently may be suffering from the flu. Some students may be self-isolating without consulting a doctor and some may be seeing off-campus medical providers.
In accordance with Centers for Disease Control guidelines, Health and Wellness Services is no longer testing patients for H1N1, swine flu. But health experts say that strain of flu is likely responsible for most of the influenza cases they are seeing nationwide.
Public health officials advise people who are planning to attend Saturday’s football game between the WSU Cougars and Southern Methodist University that attending the game and sitting in the stadium poses almost no risk of virus transmission to attendees.  However, crowded indoor activities during influenza season might provide an increased risk of virus transmission.
To reduce this risk, health officials request that everyone planning to attend the game follow these guidelines –
• Wash your hands frequently.  Hand sanitizer will be available at concession stand counters around Martin Stadium and patrons will also have access to soap and water in restrooms.
• If you are ill with influenza (fever and cough or sore throat), please do not attend the game or game-related activities.
• If you have a condition that places you at risk for complications from influenza (pregnancy, chronic lung or heart disease, diabetes, neurologic or immunologic disorder), consider restricting your exposure to crowds during influenza season.
• Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes.  This is how germs spread.
• Don’t share items you put in your mouth.  This includes eating and drinking utensils, smoking materials and items like lip gloss or balm.
• Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your sleeve, not your hands.

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