Some students and teachers may have noticed a few vacant seats in their classes the last couple of weeks.
According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention website, February is the most active time for influenza, and Tennessee is one of 46 states classified under “widespread” for flu activity.
“We’ve seen a lot of viral cases and flu-like symptoms,” said Pamela Williams, the Center Manager for the Student Health Clinic on campus.
For the flu to be confirmed, there has to be a laboratory test done. Students can have that test done at the ETSU Student Health Clinic located in Roy S. Nicks Hall, which is staffed by licensed nurse practitioners and registered nurses. There is a cost, but it varies based on insurance.
Many school districts in East Tennessee shut down last week because of an overwhelming number of cases of the flu and flu-like symptoms. Williams and Kayla Norman, a family nurse practitioner at the Student Health Clinic, doubt the university will close based on what they’ve seen.
“We see people every day with flu-like illnesses, but we haven’t done that many flu tests,” Williams said.
The Student Health Clinic had the flu shot available in October, but the vaccine is not available anymore.
“Usually, once you have the flu shot it takes two weeks to get immunity,” Norman said. “So flu season has hit now, and if you get the flu shot now, you’re not going to be immune to it for two weeks. So it may be a little late since it’s already hit.”
If a student has a cough, body aches and a fever, Williams and Norman advise students to come into the clinic for a flu test within 24 hours.
“Prevention is one of the best things,” Williams said. “Everyone just needs to know to wash their hands. Not just hand sanitizer, but wash your hands often. Cough into your sleeve rather than into your hands and not drinking after others is one of the best things you can do.”