The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Students react to spreading H1N1 virus

With over 200 infected students, many start to worry about becoming sick

The question has been buzzing all around campus: “Is there cause for concern with the recent epidemic of H1N1, also known as ‘Swine Flu’, on campus?”

“There is,” said Megan Knapp, a health educator at SMU’s Memorial Health Center. “Nobody wants to be sick, but students can help with prevention by washing hands and practicing good health hygiene.”

As of Sept. 11, there are over 200 students infected with virus out of a student body of roughly 12,000.  However, because of private health care the numbers are not precise and are speculated to be higher.

Students living on and off campus want to know if the H1N1 coverage just a bunch of hype or if there is really a cause for concern. How contagious is the flu strain and is it safe to live in close proximity to an infected student?

Rosharra Francis, a senior residing in Moore Hall, says, “It is a concern. I don’t want to get sick.”

Francis says she is taking her own precautions by washing her hands more frequently and taking an Airborne pill once in a while.

“It’s kind of scary, but I’ve seen the people with H1N1 around and they don’t look like they have died or anything. I’m thinking they make it sound worse than it actually is,” said sophomore Caroline Foster.

“It actually kind of scares me,” Shannon, a junior living on campus who requested her last name be withheld, said. “The first outbreak, I was like ‘oh, God’ and I knew it was on campus.  I don’t want to contract it.”

“We are seeing it spread,” Knapp said. “We started with one case and now we are in the two hundreds. Those numbers are probably higher in the community just because we don’t see everything in the Health Center.” 

Knapp is quick to remind students that H1N1 is contagious and can be contracted by touching contaminated surfaces and objects. H1N1, an airborne virus can also be contracted by inhaling in parts of the virus.  Knapp emphasizes it is the students’ responsibility to help control the epidemic through good health hygiene.

“I was surprised it was on campus,” said Jackie, another junior who asked her last name not be published. “Initially we were scared, but its been played down. It seemed like a big deal over the summer, like everyone was going die. But I don’t think it is as scary as it once seemed.”

Ethan Busbee, a freshman residing in Cockrell-McIntosh Hall, and Mikey Smith, a freshman and member of the SMU swim team, both share a similar view on the containment of H1N1.

The two students feel it is a “terrible” idea to keep infected students housed with healthy students because it risks further spreading of the H1N1 virus.

“I wouldn’t say unsafe,” Knapp said about the suggestion. “I would recommend that students try to avoid other sick students. As long as sick roommates are practicing good self isolation by keeping surfaces clean and practice good cough etiquette, I think the spread could be slowed down.”

“People are reacting too strongly to it.  It’s no different from the normal flu, except there’s no vaccine for it.  And, it’s causing panic…” said Katherine, a junior who lives off campus.

There is no true cure or treatment for H1N1 and most students recover without any major complications.

Most students are recovering in about four days, Knapp said.

“There’s really not a treatment, there are some things students can do for symptom management,” Knapp said, but says Tamiflu can help. “It has to be taken within the first 48 hours to be effective.”

Knapp says to ask your health care provider first, because treatment is on an individual basis.

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