Swine flu can't be avoided

Now, all of us who live on campus received notifications about how to avoid contracting the H1N1 Virus. I’d be willing to bet the students on other campuses in the area, particularly Penn State Behrend, received a lot of letters from their administrations, too. Well, obviously it didn’t work out for some of those campuses, as there are confirmed cases of the Swine Flu down the road from Mercyhurst.

For those of you that were “too cool for school” and left for fall break, you missed out on the fact that it actually, legitimately snowed while you were gone. Needless to say, the temperature outside is taking a dive down the thermometer, leaving Mercyhurst students and faculty out in the cold.

With the drop in the temperature and the change in the color of the leaves, more and more students are becoming noticeably sick, sniffling and coughing all over campus. It would seem, even with all the warnings and precautions from the administration, that it is only a matter of time before some Mercyhurst students come down with either the normal flu, or flu of the swine persuasion.
Before the students get all worrisome that we’re all going to die in a repeat of the 1918 influenza pandemic, it should be pointed out that every year about 36,000 people die from seasonal flu-related causes. And that’s not worldwide – that’s here at home, ladies and gents: the USA.

As it stands, the U.S. death toll for the virus is over 945 souls, only 14 of which were within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and only five of which were in the state of Ohio.

What we as students do need to take note of is the non-traditional young victims of the virus. This virus is targeting kids and folks our age more viciously than a seasonal flu usually does. So, seriously, if you come to a class and are hacking and sneezing and are breathing in a shallow manner, don’t be surprised if I wrap you in crime-scene tape and start wearing a Hazmat suit.

Use your heads: clean up after yourself, actually clean your apartments and dorms with something more than a Swiffer, don’t leave food to rot in your refrigerator (this definitely is not the time to weaken your immune system by getting food poisoning), and if you’ve got nothing more than a cold, don’t clog up the emergency room. Also remember the same things that help you get over a normal flu aren’t necessarily obsolete in the face of this one: hydrate, keep washing your hands and all that good stuff.

But seriously, if you cough on me, I will spray you with Lysol.