Health Services gears up for flu season

Heavy coats and warm clothes will not keep the flu away as Tech students prepare for the cold weather season.

“The reason we see more cases of the flu when it gets cold is because people congregate together more,” Scott Bilbrey, Men’s Health coordinator for Health Services, said. “They’re not out, they don’t have the windows open and they’re in more confined places.”

Being stuck inside an apartment or a residence hall with the heat on during the winter aids in the growth of viruses and increases students’ chances of becoming ill.

Viruses and bacteria do not grow as well in cold environments as they do in warm environments.

With the peak of flu season usually being in January and February, Tech students and faculty have a few more months to combat illness and take precautions to prevent becoming ill.

Bilbrey said he advises students to take certain precautions as the result of a recent influx of Tech students suffering from viruses in the residence halls.

“Wash your hands, use your elbows and feet to push doors open, and turn off faucets with paper towels after drying your hands,” Bilbrey said. “Using hand sanitizer is one of the most important things you can do to cut down on contracting a virus.”

Tech junior, Nick Johnson, said he was always taught to protect himself from germs.

“I was trained when I was young to cover my mouth, nose and ears whenever someone sneezes near me,” Johnson said. “I was also taught to cough in my elbow.”

Bilbrey said he encourages students to come to Health Services for an examination if they feel ill.

“You can shorten your illness by coming in,” Bilbrey said. “Getting you on anti-virals can help your flu symptoms and shorten the duration of your illness as well as get you back to class quicker.”