Flu cases rising in area

UW-L center alerts staff to widespread illness

Flu cases rising in area

LA CROSSE, Wis. - The flu is making its way around the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse campus and the community as a whole.

"I have had a couple friends that have had it,” student Kayden Daggett said.

"I know one of my classmates today said he wasn't coming to class because he was sick with the flu, so I’m glad he didn't come to class,” student Ethan Rossmiller said.

Students say they're employing several methods of staying flu-free

"I wash my hands as much as I can,” Lindsey Morris said.

"Just practicing good hygiene, keeping my distance from people that are sick,” Brent Kildow said.

But on a campus of about 10,000 students, one can only keep their distance for so long.

"Influenza's very contagious, and the more students are going to class with influenza, the more students are going to get influenza,” said Kristin Swanson, interim medical director at the university’s student health center.

That's why the center out an email alerting staff and faculty that over the past two weeks, more and more students have been coming in with the flu.

"So they might be more understanding of a lot of students contacting them that they're ill,” Swanson said.

The flu isn't contained to the campus. Gundersen Health system doctors have seen more patients with flu symptoms as well.

"We anticipate it's going to be a rough year for influenza because H3N2 is the one circulating, and that's the one that tends to hit very young and very old,” said Marilyn Michels, infection preventionist at Gundersen. “It's very aggressive when it hits."

There are tips to fend off the flu.

"Get the influenza vaccination, but beyond that, using good hand sanitation by washing your hands frequently, using hand sanitizer, covering your coughs,” Swanson said. “But of course, when people are in close quarters, it's going to spread very easily."

One last method students have to stay healthy is a solid dose of hope and luck.

"I personally haven't gotten it yet, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed,” Daggett said.

Doctors recommend the classic advice to those who do get the flu -- get plenty of rest, drink liquids, and take over the counter medications. Swanson and Michels also said it’s not too late to get the flu shot.

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