Tips for landing in the no-flu zone

There’s no need to let the flu get you down; Flu shots will be offered today from 1 to 5 p.m. in El Paso Hall, Room 087. They will also be offered Sept. 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the same location. The price is $28, cash or check, and no appointment is necessary. Some insurance plans will also be accepted.

Influenza will soon be back on the Richland campus. Last year, the Dallas County Department of Health And Human Services (DCDHHS) recorded a 10 percent increase in positive flu tests at local hospitals. Taking a few simple steps to avoid catching the illness can protect students from setbacks in class and the possibility of spreading illness throughout campus.

The best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccination, according to the DCDHHS. Although not 100 percent effective, according to a study from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the “flu vaccine reduced children’s risk of flu-related pediatric intensive care unit admissions by 74 percent.”

Other common viral infections can be spread by coughing, sneezing and holding hands with an infected person. Cover the mouth and nose with a tissue rather than bare hands. Try to avoid touching the nose, mouth and eyes, as these areas are sensitive to germs. Washing one’s hands often with soap and warm water, especially after contact with another person, will significantly lower chances of getting sick. Be sure to rub soap through your palms and fingers for about 20 seconds, including under fingernails.

Those experiencing symptoms such as sore throat, red eyes, muscle aches, headaches, a fever or loss of appetite may already be ill. Seek help from the health center on campus at Thunderduck Hall, Room 110 if the symptoms last longer than a week. Taking an over-the-counter pain reliever can work as a temporary fix for fever, sore throat and muscle aches.

If already sick, there are some things that can be done to combat the infection. According to Karen Ansel, RD, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “You can’t underestimate the importance of good nutrition. Vitamins, minerals, antioxidants – these are what keeps your body strong, and without them you’re not giving your body the edge it needs to ward off infection.”

Hot soup, warm and cold liquids, like tea and water, can help with throat pain. Warm showers are helpful when dealing with coughs and congestion. Increasing vitamin C intake is helpful for strengthening the immune system. Oranges, strawberries, broccoli, grapefruit and even red peppers are rich in vitamin C.

Finally, one of the most essential components for good health is getting plenty of rest, so that the body can recover and recharge for another day.