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Flu etiquette

It’s flu season, so let’s all cover our mouths

Picture this: you’re sitting in your room on newly washed sheets, ready to relax and unwind. The window is opened slightly and a draft breezes in, mixing with the scent of your flickering seasonal candle. Freshly laundered socks and a cozy sweater warm you up as you wait for your food to be finished in the oven. Life is good.   

However, this is merely the calm before the storm. Before you know it, a chill runs through your body and you’ve sneezed into your pumpkin spice latte. Fall is upon us, and so is the flu. 

What is flu etiquette? 

Flu etiquette is a general area most people could improve in. Having the flu, while it will  generate sympathy, does not excuse you from accountability. The flu virus is an easily transferable and quickly debilitating thing. What could a simple cold for one person could be much more serious for another.  

Influenza is an insidious virus that can wreak havoc on the body

This illness can lead to fever, coughing, runny noses, chills and in more extreme cases vomiting, diarrhea. Worst case scenario, it could cause more serious issues like pneumonia. Aside from the flu shot, there are alternative preventative methods we could (and should!) all adopt before or during a cold.  

Use your elbow and other strategies 

One seemingly juvenile yet necessary one is covering mouths. By placing your elbow crease across your face, you perform an act of kindness towards greater society. It is a simple, mindful practice that we should always implement. Do not cover your mouth with your hands unless you will be washing them immediately after. One of the quickest ways to spread germs is to coat your hands in a wet sneeze then touch every doorknob in the school.  

Think about bringing tissues to class with you. It might be anxiety inducing to wipe your nose in front of your classmates, but it certainly helps with the chorus of sniffles drowning out the professors at the front of the lecture halls. 

Travel-sized hand sanitizer is also an excellent tool this time of year for both the sick and the healthy. It’s the perfect option for those who couldn’t raise their elbow in time or need to clean up after using a tissue. It is also the next best option to the classic soap and water combo when it comes down to preventative measures.  

If you do get sick, staying home from school and/or work could play a major role in preventing the spread of the virus.  

Get your flu shot 

Every year, health officials warn people to get their flu shots. Every year, the warnings are ignored. In a recent article by Global News, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer Dr. Robert Strang expressed his concerns about turn out. Only 36 percent of Nova Scotians received the immunizations last year. Why is this the case?   

There could be several reasons why people don’t get their flu shot. One misconception is that it simply doesn’t work, so what’s the point of getting it? According to CDC data, the flu shot has been 44 per cent effective for the past decade. While there might still be a chance of the flu, the vaccine is the most practical and accessible way of protecting yourself and those around you. 

Bottom line: we all need to practice proper flu etiquette. Health cannot be seen as purely an individual pursuit, especially concerning transferable diseases. The shot is available at doctor’s offices, pharmacies and free for those with health coverage. When we get immunized, we protect not only ourselves but also others around us. We exercise the duty of care we have to vulnerable people like the elderly, the ill and young children. Let us all be kind to ourselves, our neighbours and the community this fall.  

Dalhousie Student Health & Wellness is providing essential resources to limit the virus spread and promote student health. The official flu shot schedule is posted up on the student health and wellness section of the website. Mobile flu clinics are running until Nov. 8. Just a health card and 15 minutes could greatly benefit an individual student, not to mention the health of Dalhousie residents. In addition, the health clinic has free disposable face masks for those already affected.  

Get the shot. It’s not as bad as you think!  

Flu shots at Dal 

Friday, Nov. 1 9:30a.m.-12:30p.m. Dentistry Lobby 
Monday, Nov. 4 4-7p.m. LeMarchant Place Atrium 
Tuesday, Nov. 5 9:30a.m.-12:30p.m. Melda Murray Centre (Sexton)
Wednesday, Nov. 6 4-7p.m. LeMarchant Place Atrium 
Friday, Nov. 8  9:30a.m.-12:30p.m. Dalplex Studio #1 

Based on vaccine availability, some clinics may be cancelled. Check the Student Health & Wellness webpage for up-to-date info.  

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