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  • Jenna Scalia

Mount Pulse on Health

Here on campus, illness and germs spread nearly as fast as the rumors about them do. Despite not being in elementary school anymore, many still fear contracting the “back-to-school plague.” Never fear, for what comes below is a list of what is or will likely be coming around and what the mount community can do to reduce the spread and their risk of getting sick.

The common cold is the no-brainer and most common of all illnesses that anyone on campus, let alone anywhere, will experience at least once before the year lets out. While a cold can be caused by, well, the cold, it can easily be passed around by peers. People should remember to wash their hands thoroughly and sanitize after touching commonly touched surfaces, cough and sneeze into the crook of their elbow, and take care of themselves by drinking tea, taking vitamins and drinking plenty of water.

Influenza is much more severe than a cold, the flu is an illness that schools and pharmacies have fussed over people to get vaccinated for years. Flu symptoms include body aches, chills and running fevers. This particular illness would require a college student or anyone for that matter to stay at home or in their dorms until the fever the individual may have recedes.

The CDC recommends that everyone throughout the flu season have a “flu buddy.” A “flu buddy” would be responsible for fetching meals, and medicine and performing other errands for their ill buddy and would do the same in return if the other were to fall sick. This reduces the number of people exposed to the ill person and helps contain the spread. For college students, the best “flu buddy” would be their roommate(s), if any.

Preventing the spread follows what one should do when with a cold, however, with the flu being more severe, other precautions should be put in place. Avoid being in large groups for long periods of time. Do not attend class if you are not well and cannot be accommodated via Zoom. People should rest as much as they can and take it easy if they gain a fever. Reduction in activity and limiting contact with others are also recommended. If appetite is lost (as is common among flu cases), it is suggested to eat when possible, particularly foods that are high in vitamins C and D, protein and zinc.

While society had hoped and prayed that COVID would become a thing of the past, unfortunately, the ghosts of such past are still around to haunt everyone. Most individuals may be vaccinated now, however, people are still susceptible to the grips of COVID and with the incoming cold/flu season, it will be no exception. As most know, COVID is a far more severe case of the flu and must not be taken lightly, despite everything society went through already. Everyone should remember to wear a mask if they have been exposed to someone who had tested positive within the past two weeks and to avoid being around groups of people without one.

If someone does test positive, they need to stay at home or in their dorm. They should have their meals, medicine and other needs delivered to their door. Everyone should wash their hands as thoroughly as possible and clean surfaces after they have touched them. Professors will accommodate students as much as they can, given the circumstances, as long as students inform them and keep them updated with what is going on.

Strep Throat or Streptococcal Pharyngitis is a bacterial infection that spreads from person to person. Its onset tends to be very subtle and some may not even know they have it and mistake it for another scratchy throat. Some may be asymptomatic and only be carriers of the bacteria that spread to others who may not be so lucky. Strep throat is not as simple as a sore throat, but includes, sore lymph nodes and neck muscles and perhaps a fever.

Strep throat does require medical attention, so if someone suspects they may have strep throat, they should visit the new urgent care across from the public safety office or any of the other local ones in Gettysburg and Frederick to get tested and be prescribed antibiotics. If someone experiences more severe symptoms such as the inability to swallow, difficulty breathing, rash or high fever (above 102 degrees), do must not hesitate and head to the ER. Since the bacteria spread through the air, prevention typically consists of avoiding an infected person.

Pink eye is rarely as common as the illnesses above, but just as contagious and definitely, something to be on the lookout for in the coming season. Pink eye is caused by either bacteria or a virus being transmitted to the eye through touch or airborne exposure to droplets.

A highly contagious illness that requires the person infected to stay at home or in their dorm as much as they can. Symptoms include itchiness of the eye, redness, green/yellow discharge, red and swelling eyelids and sensitivity to light. While pink eye can heal on its own, it is recommended to treat it with antibiotic eye drops, Ciprofloxacin (which can come in both a gel or solution), cold compress and/or Prednisolone (for inflammation). Like every other illness, ensure the thorough, thoughtful scrubbing and washing of hands.

While the list can go on, these are only a few of what the Mount community can expect here on campus when entering the cold/flu season. Everyone should remember to be considerate to other students, faculty, staff and visitors this coming season by washing their hands, sanitizing surfaces, covering their mouths when coughing or sneezing and staying at home or in their dorms when needed, to avoid further spread of any ailments.


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