Fall bug: it’s back and biting

At the beginning of each school year, the flu, viruses and the common cold run rampant on campus due to a number of factors such as sleeping habits, stress, sharing drinks and simply being exposed to so many new faces.

The Temple bug is back and biting harder than ever.

With the fall season in full effect, runny noses, itchy throats and chronic coughs are common symptoms for sick students who are coughing and sneezing, going to class and spreading their germs.
Colds and viruses are widely spread on campus. For students to understand the real reason behind the bug, they have to know more than the traditional myth that claims dressing warm during this time of year will prevent sickness.

Student Health Services, located in 1810 Liacouras Walk, allows students to make appointments and be seen by a doctor when they are feeling sick (Julia Wilkinson/TTN).

“With the start of a new year, students are thrown into a hectic lifestyle with more stress and more social interaction than what they experienced over the summer,” said Dr. Jay Segal, professor of public health. “Your body is forced to use more energy, causing your immune system to work inefficiently.”

According to the University of Virginia Health System, a cold is caused by a virus that inflames the membranes in the lining of the nose and throat and can be the result of more than 200 different viruses. It is estimated that in one year, people in the United States will suffer a total of 1 billion colds. In the fall, most students are accustomed to the colds that circulate on campus.

“I knew it was going to happen,” said junior piano pedagogy major Jiselle Warner. “I usually catch a cold once I leave home and this year was no different.”

The best way to prevent colds is to have a balanced diet and get plenty of rest, which can sometimes be difficult for college students. Many students living in residence halls are in close contact with others. The heightened social interaction can increase the risk of spreading contagious illnesses.

Cases of Mononucleosis have been reported on campus. Mononucleosis is caused by a virus and results in an increase in white blood cells. Symptoms include fever, swelling of lymph nodes and exhaustion. Those affected usually recover in a few weeks, but there is no specific treatment.

The Student Health Services office, located at 1810 Liacouras Walk, is an accessible resource for students with healthcare problems or questions.

“I visited Temple’s health facilities, and they did a blood test to determine if I did indeed have Mono,” said sophomore biophysics major Arianna Mangus. “They gave me steroids to reduce the inflammation in my throat. I think I got it from sharing drinks with people.”

“The importance of sleep should not be undervalued,” Segal said. “Ultimately, you should be a good manager of your time and your life.”

Monica Sellecchia can be reached at monica@temple.edu.

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