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Fighting against the flu

By Meghan Canney and Emma Nassif
On February 20, 2018

Photo by Jeff Sigmund. Anna Spomer, first year nursing student, practices giving the flu shot.

This year the influenza virus, commonly referred to as the flu, has been one of the deadliest in many years.  

According to The Des Moines Register, the number of confirmed flu deaths in Iowa this winter now stands at 97, as reported by the Iowa Department of Public Health. Last year at this point, Iowa had reported just 28 deaths. 

And with how easily the flu spreads that number is set to climb. Students who are constantly being put into new environments with new people can be among those at a greater risk for contracting the virus. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, the flu can spread very easily, even just through breathing. It can also be contracted twice in one season. 

The CDC reported, “People with flu can spread it to others up to about six feet away. Most experts think that flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs... a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose.”

Washing hands, covering one’s mouth area and staying home when sick are all ways to help prevent the flu. 

Amanda Enos, communications media major at Kirkwood Community College, said she was exposed to the flu virus at work and took extra precautions. “I noticed a coworker was coughing more than usual so I washed my hands more frequently,” she said.

The CDC also reported, “Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness. It can cause mild to severe illness. Serious outcomes of flu infection can result in hospitalization or death. Some people, such as older people, young children and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk of serious flu complications.”

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