Let’s be prepared for H1N1

Eddie Kilroy

On Sept. 2, The Associated Press reported four Ohio colleges – Cincinnati, Miami, Cedarville and Xavier – had identified students carrying symptoms of the H1N1 virus, also known as the swine flu.

With this virus spreading like wildfire, the growth of concern increases every day for those fortunate enough to be in good health. It is officially autumn, which means that flu season has arrived in the eyes of medicinal personnel.

As I walk around campus to go to class and visit friends, I notice some students looked a little pale in the face. Not to say that it has anything to do with the virus, but it’s scary to think this could visit us in our simple school in northeast Ohio.

Whether it’s the common cold, allergies, mono, etc., getting sick is most likely the last thing on everyone’s minds. The stress of schoolwork, jobs, relationships and plans for the weekend makes it easy to forget that we also have to be concerned about our health. This is nobody’s fault, because everybody has some sort of distraction in his or her life. Thankfully, there are those who have started to spread the awareness of H1N1.

The Daily Kent Stater and our university have taken some steps to help students avoid the spreading sickness. On Tuesday, the Stater announced that students should report any news on the swine flu so that they may spread the word for others’ safety. Kent State installed hand sanitizers throughout campus to prevent infection, and e-mails have been sent about the virus and vaccination options. As the Stater and the university continue to seek answers the students need to know, we, the student body, must also take the necessary steps to stay healthy.

How do we do that? Here are a couple of comical and practical ideas that students can put into effect:

• When we go out to parties with friends and have our drinks (beer, fruit punch, whatever excites you), don’t share the goods with anyone else. Swine flu, like seasonal influenza, spreads from person to person via personal contact or through contact of a shared object that isn’t disinfected.

• Even though our on-campus cafeteria food is hot and tasty, a healthy diet is definitely an easy way for those who are prone to get sick to fight off the flu. One product I’ll mention is Odwalla orange juice, which is sold almost everywhere on campus. It contains plenty of Vitamin C, which is a key nutrient in helping the immune system. Of course, fruits and vegetables are always a plus, but for a student on the go, this is a definite two thumbs up.

These ideas above are just suggestions to help everybody stay healthy. Even if you know what to do with the arrival of flu season, it’s important that we take care of ourselves. As noted by the Stater editorial board Tuesday, “The job of a student is to go to school, study and graduate.” Let us all be safe as we head into the flu season at full steam, for the benefit of ourselves and others at our university.

Eddie Kilroy is a sophomore communications studies major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].