Take two and call in the morning

Cough, cold and flu are rampant on campus. Here’s what you can do.

Illustration by Gabrielle Funk

During the switch from fall to winter, germs and illnesses are easily spread.

Ashley Markowsky, a nurse practitioner, explains that with colder weather comes closer proximity between people indoors, and therefore, more opportunity to transmit viruses or bacteria.

“Generally, certain viruses peak at certain times of year, so for cold and flu, it just happens to peak in the winter at our climate,” she says.

Markowsky says hand washing is the best method of protecting against germs and bacteria, as viruses are usually picked up from surfaces. Markowsky also recommends coughing into the elbow, so as not to put germs into the hands for spreading.

“If you’re sick with the flu, symptoms would be fever and muscle aches and pains,” she says. “If you have these, you shouldn’t be coming to school. You should be staying home.”

Xavierie Versoza, a first-year student at the University of Winnipeg, says it’s unfortunate that some students think they need to come to class anyway if they’re sick.

Due to stress and classroom culture, some students are under the impression that their grades will be affected if they don’t come to class, Versoza says.

“But most professors should be understanding of illnesses,” she adds.

“There’s a lot of people that can help you when you’re sick. You have a bunch of classmates that you can ask to help you catch up on notes, for example,” Versoza says.

“We’re very technological at U of W, so you can communicate with your professor easily over email to let them know. If you’re really sick, don’t bother coming to class and making other people sick.”

Students can also find support at Student Services with the academic advisors, Versoza says. Students are able to file appeals to withdraw grades or retake exams that were missed because of illnesses.

Markowsky agrees professors will most likely be understanding if a student is ill.

“Really, you’re not going to do your best learning in that state of sickness,” she says. “On top of that, you’re going to be spreading your infection.”

Markowsky says one of the best ways to get over a cough, cold or flu is to rest.

“If you actually take the time to rest, you may find that you improve quicker rather than if you’re pushing and exhausting yourself,” she says.

The tentative date for the flu clinic to be offered on campus is Nov. 15, although it’s not yet confirmed, Markowsky says.

“If for some reason a student couldn’t attend the flu clinic, we can give flu shots (at the Wellness Centre on campus), for which they’d have to book an appointment,” she says. “Of course, students can make an appointment here for any other general illness as well.”

“We want to encourage as many people as possible to get the flu shot,” Markowsky says. “It’s not only about protecting yourself. It’s about protecting the people around you, too.”

Published in Volume 73, Number 7 of The Uniter (October 25, 2018)

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