The winter blues and flus

Baby, it’s cold outside.

This time of year, many students are getting just that – a cold – or more.

Winter months tend to raise the number of students with sore throats, ear pain, sinus congestions and coughs, said Dr. Isabel Goldenberg, director of the Student Health Service.

“These symptoms, commonly referred to as Upper Respiratory Tract infections, are very common in the winter and usually are due to viral infections. A small percentage of the students have streptococcal infections of the throat, bacterial ear and sinus infections, or pneumonia,” Goldenberg said in an e-mail.

Some of these problems start while students are at home or traveling, but many students wait to be checked until they are back on campus, Goldenberg said.

Also common in winter months are injuries due to falls on icy streets and injuries related to winter sports, such as wrist fractures or torn ligaments in the knee.

Bed bugs have resurged in the past couple years, too. Goldenberg said students who traveled during break – especially overseas – should be vigilant about bed bugs. Students who suspect they have bed bugs in their residence hall room should inform Facilities Management to have the room inspected, she said.

As for the H1N1 virus, Goldenberg said that most experts expect a third wave to hit.

“All of our clinicians are aware of this possibility and we are monitoring the situation on campus,” Goldenberg said.

The University has already distributed 9,000 free vaccines to students, faculty and staff, and Goldenberg said they have been proactive in H1N1 education and placing hand sanitizer containers all over campus.

Goldenberg said she continuously advises students to eat healthy, get enough sleep and exercise regularly in order to prevent the flu and other viral infections.

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