The flu hits FSU

FSU has been affected by the worst flu outbreak since 2009, according to Melinda Stoops, dean of students.

Stoops sent emails out to all FSU students regarding the flu “in response to increased cases and we encourage students not to go to class when they’re sick,” she said.

Stoops urged students who are symptomatic to go home if possible so as not to infect other students with the virus.

Ilene Hofrenning, director of the Health Center, said there have been between 80 to 90 documented cases of the flu on campus since Jan. 25.

She said it began with maybe 25 percent of the Center’s patients complaining about flu-like symptoms in the first week and by the second week, approximately 45 percent of the patients were exhibiting symptoms.

She said students who have the flu who are unable to make it home should “self-quarantine” and they can coordinate with Dining Services to have meals brought to them by a friend or roommate.

Hofrenning contacted the Department of Public Health and learned that the MetroWest area currently has the highest rate of the flu in Massachusetts.

She added, “We’re in the middle of it. … We’ve been really inundated with it for the past couple of weeks.”

Stoops said when the flu first arrived on campus, it “wasn’t unusual. February is usually when we get the flu. It was really two weeks ago that I felt, all of a sudden, we’re seeing more documented cases of the flu.”

She added, “For the past couple of weeks, it’s been really bad.” 

Senior Maggie McNeil said she was diagnosed by the Health Center on Thursday, Feb. 2 with a “flu-like virus.”

She said the Health Center told her “if possible, due to the fever, I should make the attempt to leave the University.”

McNeil said she had the suspected symptoms such as exhaustion, fever, sore throat and dizziness.

She added she did not have to miss any classes because she was diagnosed late Thursday, but said her part-time employer at the Admissions Office was “very accommodating” of her illness. 

She left campus that Friday and returned the following Monday.

Junior Amber Jimenez was diagnosed with the flu at an urgent care facility on Monday, Feb. 13. Jimenez said before her official diagnosis, she wasn’t sure what was wrong, so she “quarantined” herself in her room and “was too nauseous to eat or stand or sit.”

She added the urgent care facility gave her an inhaler and Tamiflu because she couldn’t breathe. Jimenez left campus on Tuesday and has not returned.

“Now I’m just stressed out because of classes and missing assignments, but I’ll figure it out,” she said.

The Center’s webpage has compiled a list of tips for avoiding the flu, helping a roommate who has caught the flu and knowing what to do if infected with it.

Hofrenning urges students to wash their hands frequently, stay hydrated and watch for symptoms such as a sore throat or fever. She added that while the virus has been somewhat “resistant” to the flu shot, students can still receive it at urgent care facilities near campus.

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