January 10, 2013 12:00AM
On Monday, more than 7,000 students will return to the Pittsburg State University campus. They’ll be bringing lots of things with them as they move back into their rooms in the residence halls or set up their apartments across the city. Some of them will also probably bring the flu.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Kansas is one of 41 states in which influenza activity is widespread and officials in PSU’s Bryant Student Health Center are preparing for its share of cases.
“We have seen our first case of positive influenza A this week, so it is in the PSU community,” said Carrie Farrington, a medical provider in the health center.
Farrington said that one of the first things students should do when they return to campus is to get their flu shot, if they haven’t already done so.
“We have a limited number of flu shots available here at the health center and I would encourage students to come and get them as soon as possible,” Farrington said. “It is not too late to get immunized. It does take a couple of weeks for the immunization to reach full effect, so the sooner the better.”
Farrington said the other thing students can do to minimize their risk is to practice good prevention.
“Everyone has heard this, but it is absolutely true. The most important thing to do is good hand washing,” Farrington said.
Students and staff who do come down with the flu are urged to stay home and avoid contact with others until their symptoms have passed.
“Staying home when you are sick will help keep the cases of the flu down on campus,” Farrington said. “We encourage students who live on campus to return home, if at all possible, during the illness. We recommend not going to class until the person has been fever-free for at least 24 hours.”
The most common symptoms of the influenza virus are high fever (usually over 101), headache and generalized muscle aches, sore throat, cough, fatigue, and occasionally vomiting or diarrhea.
Farrington said most flu symptoms last three to seven days.
Students may schedule appointments at the student health center online, by phone or in person.
For more flu information, including ways to tell the difference between a cold and the flu and guidance about when to seek medical attention, visit the Bryant Student Health website at www.pittstate.edu/health or call the student health center at 620-235-4452.