January 10, 2013
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is reporting an early arrival for the start of the flu season with an increase in the number of cases expected. The Pennsylvania Department of Health is also reporting widespread cases of influenza in the state. Flu is also expected to be widespread around the United States causing speculation this might become the worst flu season in a decade. The A/H3N2 type influenza is the virus that is circulating and it has been the cause of major flu outbreaks in the past.
On a positive note, the flu vaccine made for this season covers this type of influenza. Gettysburg College’s Health Services Department saw only a few students with flu-like symptoms and illness prior to the winter break. It is not too late to receive the flu vaccine and we advise you to consider getting the flu shot at your earliest convenience. This will give you the best chance of vaccine coverage. The shot is available on campus at the college’s Health Services Center; however, we strongly recommend that you get the vaccine at home before you come back to school. It takes 10-14 days to build immunity and we think it is best to do this before you come back to campus.
Influenza is a viral illness usually with an abrupt onset of symptoms that may include:
* Fever that is greater than or equal to 100 degrees F, 38 degrees C
* Body chills, aches and fatigue
* Cough and sore Throat
* Runny or stuffy nose
If infected with the influenza virus, you are considered contagious 1 to 2 days before getting sick and 5 to 7 days after. Living in close quarters increases the risk of exposure. The CDC’s first line of prevention is to receive the flu vaccine. It is not too late to help protect yourself and those around you.
Fred Kinsella MSN, CRNP-BC
Director of Health Services | Gettysburg College
Julie L. Ramsey,
Vice President for College Life and Dean of Students