College Campuses are one of the best environments for spreading contagious viral diseases; thousands of students living in close proximity, breathing each other’s air, their immune systems trashed by too little sleep and a diet of ramen noodles.

Pacific is no exception. Each year, students suffering from the “flu,” more correctly known as influenza, flood to the Student Health Center.

According to Nurse Practitioner Lori May, who works at the health center, Flu patients make up “most of our patients during the winter.”

While influenza is usually only fatal to the very old or very young, college students with compromised immune systems can expect to miss a full week of class after contracting the disease.

Furthermore, influenza can develop into far worse conditions, most commonly pneumonia, which can compromise a student for weeks if not months.

May points out that even though the health center treats dozens of influenza patients, “many students mistake the flu for Rhino Virus, better known as the common cold” and thus remain undiagnosed.

Students can avoid the flu in the obvious way, by not touching anything or anyone ever between the months of October and May.

The best methods involve not touching doorknobs, shared writing utensils, the faucets of sinks or other common-contact surfaces. Influenza is also airborne, meaning that breathing the same air as an infected person could give you the disease.

Try to avoid spending time in an enclosed space such as your dorm with someone who is clearly sick.

However, if the sick person is your roommate or you are in a classroom with several sick people, there is little you can do.

If that sounds somewhat impossible, then you may want to get a Flu Shot.

The Student Health Center will be providing Flu shots on Tuesday, Sept. 30 and Wednesday, Oct. 1 in the University Center for $25.

They will also be available at the Hillsboro Health Professions campus, between noon and 1 p.m. and 4-5 p.m. on Oct. 7 and 8 respectively.

These will be available at 333 SE 7th Avenue, suite 4250. The Student Health Center is always a resource that is made available to students to ensure their health.

It is a myth that flu shots cause influenza. They often cause a few shadow symptoms, that, according to May, “usually dissipate within a day and are much less intense that actual influenza symptoms.”

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