Don’t let stomach flu get you down

Have you ever been sick? The headaches, the runny, yet at the same time stuffy nose, the feeling that you’re about to lose your lunch at any moment and the strange coolness of the bathroom floor. It’s enough to drive a person insane.

This is what some of the students in Person County, North Carolina are experiencing. Between Sept. 4 and 9, more than 1,000 students have been absent due to illness or for precautionary reasons.

The suspected identity of this illness is the Norovirus, more commonly recognized as the stomach flu or food poisoning.

The Norovirus causes gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach and large intestine) with symptoms including stomach cramps, low- grade fever, nausea and diarrhea. It is also highly contagious and has the ability to jump from person to person and contaminate food, water and surfaces with ease.

If you think you have caught the Norovirus, do not worry. You will just feel like you are dying for a little while.

The virus only last a couple of days and can be taken care of with plenty of healthy food, liquids and rest. A quick visit to Eagle Medical Center would not hurt either.

Eagle Medical Center is Guilford College’s medical provider and is located at 1210 New Garden Road, only a couple of minutes past campus.

You may be thinking, “Ah, I’ve got Purell and some Clorox wipes, I’m good. After all, It’s Guilford.”

But let us remember one fact, this is  Guilford. Even we’ve had our little scares here and there.

“Last year we had a brief worry about a case of viral meningitis on campus,” said Associate Dean of Students Jennifer Agor.

However, the College does know how to take care of an outbreak if one were ever to arise.

“In the case of swine flu or bird flu or something similar, we do have an emergency operations plan to deal with such a major outbreak, but luckily have not had to use it,” said Agor.

Just because we have not had to take emergency precautions does not mean we will never have to. The best way to start fighting against illness and ensure we never will starts in your very own bedroom.

It is especially important to keep clean in dorms. Living in close quarters makes it easier for one to get sick and spread the illness. So, if you were to get sick, take a tip from registered nurse Michele Shearer.

“If you’ve got the flu, stay home. You don’t want to contaminate anybody and you want to get better as well,” said Shearer.

Shearer’s advice applies to more than just the flu. It is not uncommon for someone to contract pinkeye and other illnesses in the residence halls.

One tip to remember, and this is a big one: remember to wash your hands. A lot of pain and suffering can be avoided by simply washing your hands with warm water and soap before eating and after bathroom breaks.

Second, for those of you that fancy the culinary arts, make sure to thoroughly wash your vegetables and fully cook your food. The Norovirus is known to travel on dirty vegetables and under-cooked food so make sure there isn’t any pink meat in that chicken breast.

Last, be careful with whom you share those cigarettes. Sharing is a lot less caring when you’re also passing the flu.

Remember, by making sure you take care of yourself, washing those hands, maintaining a clean living space and eating healthy, you too can win the war on illness and have a clean, healthy school year.