Assistant News Editor
Tumbleweeds could be seen blowing around the Springfield College campus last week as the flu ran rampant, taking out an astonishing number of students and faculty.
Class attendance was low, if there was even class at all. Some professors opted to cancel due to the lack of healthy pupils. Some were even stricken with the illness themselves and couldn’t make the trek to campus. When classes did occur, the various unhealthy noises of sneezing and sniffling echoed around the room. No one was safe.
On Wednesday, Feb. 1, the Health Center sent out a campus-wide email in an attempt to lessen the number of flu victims. It stated that there had been an increased number of positive flu tests, more than 15 that they had documented themselves, and certainly several cases existing around campus that hadn’t been tested.
The email also contained information on the symptoms of the flu which “may include but are not limited to: fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue, diarrhea and/or vomiting.” It advised students experiencing these symptoms to visit the Health Center and get tested, as well as frequently wash their hands and stay in their room to avoid spreading the virus further.
Director of the Health Center, Loni Kearney, explained how rapidly influenza has taken over campus. “The Health Center has been very busy in the last 2 weeks and has seen the number of patient visits per day almost double. We had over 30 confirmed cases of the flu last week alone and an innumerable amount of suspected cases,” she said.
Kearney also put to rest some common myths about the flu, stating that just because a student got the flu shot does not mean that they are completely immune to catching it and should still make sure to take the proper precautions. She also shared that it is possible to get the flu twice, so once again, wash those hands and definitely don’t share drinks. The Health Center is still offering the flu vaccine to those who have yet to get it.
The words “Keep Out: QUARANTINE” were written on the door of sophomore roommates Maria Travascio and Kemba Webson last week, as both roommates were stricken with sickness.
“I originally thought I had bronchitis because I had a really bad cough and my chest hurt, but the Health Center was afraid I had the flu so they tested me for it,” said Travascio. “When I woke up Wednesday morning, I got a call saying I had the flu, and that day it really hit me.”
However, Travascio shared that her week in quarantine wasn’t all bad. “The only good thing about having the flu was that I was stuck with my roommate so I always had someone to talk to,” she joked.
Being sick at home can almost seem like a vacation, staying in bed all day and having soup and medicine hand-delivered by concerned parents. That same luxury does not exist while being away at college. Having to fend for yourself adds another degree of difficulty to the recovery process.
Some illness-inflicted students made the trip home to recuperate, but for others, that simply wasn’t possible. Sophomore Rachel Kohler, whose family lives over 1,000 miles away in Florida, explained the struggle of dealing with sickness on her own at school.
“It’s hard to keep missing classes even though you know you should. It’s scary to think you’re falling behind but can’t control it,” said Kohler. “When you’re home you’re in your own bed and have your parents to be there, but at school no one wants to be around you because they can’t get sick either.”
So for those who have been victimized by influenza, feel better and stay in your room, and for those who have yet to, good luck. It’s every person for themselves. And remember to pay the Health Center a visit to get that vaccine.