Health Center gives tips for healthy students

For any college student, there is no time to be sick. There are always classes to go to, quizzes and tests to take, or organizational meetings to attend. While some illness is an inconvenience, some contagious diseases can be really harmful and be potentially deadly, which is why it is important for all students to be aware of certain diseases.
Influenza, also known as “the flu” is one of the most common illnesses that occurs in college students. It commonly lasts anywhere from a few days to over a week. Symptoms of the flu include fever or chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, fatigue and body aches. According to the Center for Disease Control, if you have the flu symptoms as well as sudden dizziness, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, pain in the chest or abdomen, or confusion, you should seek medical attention immediately.
You can prevent the flu by getting the flu shot.
“If you get the flu after getting the flu shot, it does not mean that the shot gave you the flu. It means that you were already infected with it before you got the shot,” said Debbie Rosenberger, BSN, RN, BC coordinator of health services.
According to data collected by the American College Heath Association’s National College Health Assessment, 48 percent of college students get the flu shot annually.
“Only about 10 percent of [UMHB] students got the flu shot on our campus,” Rosenberger said. “Flu shots are being offered on campus starting on Sept. 19. The cost for a shot is $20.”
Another disease that has caused concern for many college students is meningitis, which can be viral and bacterial.
“It is much rarer for people to die from viral meningitis; it is typically treatable. However, bacterial meningitis is very fast moving. People either recover or they don’t. Bacterial is what causes people to lose limbs,” Rosenberger said.
According to the CDC, symptoms of viral meningitis are fever, headache, stiff neck, sensitivity to bright light, sleepiness or trouble waking up, nausea, vomiting, lack of appetite, and lethargy. People usually get better on their own within 7-10 days.
Bacterial meningitis has the same symptoms but they are much more intense and happen more quickly.
The CDC says that later symptoms can be coma or seizures. It is best to see a doctor if you think that you may have meningitis.
Meningitis typically attacks young people, which is why it is a concern among college students.
However, Texas law requires students to receive the vaccination before they can attend a college. According to the data from the ACHA, only 66 percent of students across the nation receive the meningitis vaccination.
“However, the past few years UMHB has been at 100 percent of students receiving the vaccination,” Rosenberger said.
This means that the chances of contracting meningitis are slim at our campus.
Another disease that is cause for concern is HPV, which causes 70 percent of throat cancers as well as cervical cancer.
According to the CDC, there is no test to determine your HPV status. This is why it is so important to get the vaccination.
HPV causes cancer, but it is totally preventable with the vaccination.
If you would like any more information on any of these diseases, you can talk to Nurse Debbie or go to the CDC website (cdc.gov).
If you are interested in reading more of the data collected from the ACHA, you can find the results from 2016 at http://www.acha-ncha.org/reports_ACHA-NCHAIIc.html.

Author: Katrina Wordell

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