The pink stuff will not help out this stomach ache

Melissa Fose

Melissa Fose

The SDSU campus has seen significantly more cases of influenza during this year’s flu season compared to previous years.

Student Health Associate Director Brenda Andersen reported that students started coming in during the last week of January with flu-like symptoms. As of March 5, 72 people were tested for the contagious disease; 23 of these cases tested positive for Influenza A and three for Influenza B.

Students feeling symptoms such as a high fever, chills, body aches, cough, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps should see a doctor as soon as possible. Andersen described extreme exhaustion as another common symptom.

Andersen said that students should be aware that a fever is the distinguishing factor between influenza and the common cold. Sometimes, students believe they have influenza but may be experiencing a cold.

Vaccination is the “best shot” to avoid getting sick, said Andersen. Of the 72 tested, she estimated that only three to four students had been vaccinated.

“I guess I figured I was safe,” said senior psychology major Sara Javers.

Because her immune system was weakened, Javers was diagnosed with a double ear infection, viral bronchitis and an inflamed larynx in addition to Influenza A. It took her two weeks to return to full health.

Erica Raap, a sophomore early education major, said, “I chose not to get vaccinated because I didn’t have enough time, and I thought that since I spend so much time in my room, I wouldn’t be around anyone who had the flu.”

Students need to be cautious even if they did get a flu shot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the 2007 vaccine will not protect against one-fourth of Influenza A strains or against any of the B strains.

“Sometimes [vaccines] get a bad rap for strains not covered,” said Andersen.

Flu shots still provide a lot of protection, including the reduction of sickness severity and other complications.

Senior nursing student Nancy DeBoer said that her vaccination was too late. She got the Influenza A vaccination one week before she started feeling sick; flu shots usually take two to three weeks to take effect.

DeBoer was prescribed an anti-viral drug called Tamiflu. Taking Tamiflu can result in less intense symptoms and may reduce the length of sickness. She never experienced any side effects of the drug, which – according to the Federal Drug Administration – include nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, bronchitis, dizziness and headache.

It is important for persons confirmed with influenza to tell those in close contact to get tested. Students living with someone diagnosed with a form of influenza should also think about getting on an antiviral drug. DeBoer’s husband was given Tamiflu as well and never felt sick.

According to Andersen, Tamiflu is the main drug used to treat influenza because drug resistance has increased with older drugs. She has not prescribed an older drug for a few years because of the resistance problems. Five percent of Tamiflu users will experience resistance; Andersen believes that percentage is increasing.

Any type of sickness can negatively affect a student’s life and studies. Some students missed an entire week of class.

“I had to spend lots of time making up homework and classes, and I had to miss a few days of work, so that was a lot less money,” said Kiel Ricci, a senior sociology major.