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Editorial Board

No need to panic over flu virus

The bug has crawled to Kent State.

The Daily Kent Stater reported last week that the flu officially has arrived at the university. A University Health Services official said the center had diagnosed 68 cases of influenza as of last week.

It may be here, but there is no need to panic just yet.

While there are severe cases of influenza that should be diagnosed and treated by a professional, there are illnesses students and others can address and prevent successfully on their own. It is important to take care of oneself and rely more on good health than on medications.

For one thing, even if the bug spreads, influenza shots are not for everyone. The University Health Services Web site provides a questionnaire that people may take to determine if they should receive the shots, and it clearly states that if a person is 64 years old or younger and in good health, he or she should not get a flu shot.

Are you younger than 64? Are you healthy?

If you are, breathe easy, and stay away from the doctor.

If you aren’t, breathe easy and get a flu shot if you feel it will keep you healthier.

Flu shots, however, wouldn’t be necessary if people would put considerable effort into keeping themselves healthy. Figuring out why a person who is sick isn’t getting better if he or she eats fast food every day and drinks every night is not rocket science.

By taking precautions and successfully preventing illness, a person can avoid doctors’ bills, insurance co-pays and medicinal side effects. Side effects come with virtually any drug. For students with sinus problems, the drug Tylenol Sinus Night Time may be as good as gold. However, as with any drug, the medication comes with its list of possible side effects, which include allergic reactions, liver damage and blood problems.

Drug information — including side effects — is available at www.drugs.com. Before one pops pills, one should evaluate whether the temporary fix outweighs the possible side effects.

The bug spray of the season does not appear to be medicines, many of which do not cure, but instead, mask symptoms. On the contrary, it is keeping oneself healthy. The University Health Services Web site offers several tips provided by its chief physician for such prevention:

Wash your hands with soap and water.

Try to keep your distance from those who are already sick.

Avoid smoking, alcohol and non-medical drugs. All three can negatively affect your immune system’s ability to ward off illness.

Boost your immune system by getting plenty of rest, drinking enough fluids and eating a nutritious diet.

Take a multivitamin to complete that nutrition picture.

If you have the flu, stay home and recover. Otherwise, you risk spreading the virus to others.

Take the site’s advice, and don’t let epidemic reports bother you too much. Turns out, simply taking care of yourself is an adequate fly-swatter for most bugs.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board, whose members are listed to the left.