The very mention of the words “swine flu” is all it takes to have several students clutching desperately for hand sanitizer, but several students have made it safely through the disease with only a few days of make-up work to show for it.
As the signs and hand sanitizer dispensers dotting campus will attest, Health Services has been attempting to limit student exposure to the H1N1 virus and help students with it recover as soon as possible.
Signs and guides are posted in residence halls and online, covering every topic from what symptoms to expect, how to keep from getting others sick and how to deal with professors whose classes you are missing.
Students attempting to access the Health Service page will first be redirected to a special alert page, dedicated entirely to H1N1. A statement on this page says, “Health Services’ first priority continues to be the safety and care of its students and is fully prepared to address student concerns related to their own health, screen patients as needed, assure prompt and appropriate medical care, and implement precautions to protect others.”
Despite the large amount of attention paid to the disease, many students found it to be little more than an annoying hassle.
Hamza Hasan, third-year ARCH, said his encounter with the virus really only consisted of a tiring long weekend. After beginning to feel symptoms on Friday, Aug. 29, Hasan realized he had H1N1 that Sunday, and after a few sleep-filled days, was back on his feet early in the week.
Hasan said he did make it to the Health Center while he was ill, though.
“Sunday I knew I had it, so I just slept in all day…Monday I didn’t go to studio, didn’t go to class, and didn’t even notify my professors until later. I went to the Health Center on Monday around noon or one o’clock, and I was there for quite some time,” Hasan said.
Hasan said the trip was largely uneventful, aside from a few standard tests and the fact that everyone in the building was wearing surgical masks. He said after a doctor told him to continue the medication he was on (a decongestant, standard cold medicine, and Ibuprofen for fever), they sent him home.
It’s not just students with classes that are being affected, though. Co-op students are having to deal with the illness.
James Fisher, second-year IE, had a much rougher experience with H1N1, as he was ill for an entire week, from Saturday, Sept. 5 to the following Friday. Fortunately for him, he happened to be visiting home when he became ill.
“I was visiting my parents at the time, so I moved to the couch and didn’t leave for five days,” Fisher said.
He backs up Hasan’s claims that the disease’s main affliction is that it saps the energy out of its victims. Fisher says that exhaustion, sore muscles and dizziness kept him pinned to the couch for most of the week.
For both Hasan and Fisher, though, professors and employers had a fairly understanding attitude towards work missed due to the illness.
Hasan said that, though one never really catches up in studio even when perfectly healthy, most of his professors let him make up missed work with little to no hassle.
“All the professors are way cooler about swine flu than any other sickness,” Hasan said.
Professors have been encouraged to be understanding towards students who miss work due to the illness, and Hasan says a bit of self-preservation probably doesn’t hurt the situation either. After all, one less sick student in the classroom only makes it that much less likely for the professor to fall ill.
Fisher’s co-op had a similarly lenient attitude towards absence due to H1N1, as a doctor’s note verifying the illness was all Fisher had to provide.
Another statement on the H1N1 page says, “Fortunately, we are learning that this new flu seems to be causing mostly moderate, uncomplicated illnesses in the U.S., with most people recovering without medical intervention. We all are advised to remain alert not alarmed…and always practice good hand washing.”
The symptoms of the Swine Flu include fatique, fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and runny or stuffy nose.
Students that believe that they have the H1N1 Virus are instructed to stay at home and self-isolate themselves until their fever breaks without the help of a fever reducing medication.
The Health Services website also offers a list of emergency health services to contact when Health Services is closed if the students believes that they are becoming infected with the virus.