WIU increasing preparedness for flu season - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

WIU increasing preparedness for flu season

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MACOMB, Ill. (WGEM) -

Health officials at Western Illinois University are concerned about the spread of the flu as students headed back to class Monday.

They say this year's flu strain has proven to be both dangerous and very contagious.

WIU health officials say they started the year with about 1500 flu vaccines but now they have just over 400 left.

And with this year's flu season yet to reach its peak-- the school is taking a proactive approach.

It was back to class Monday for nearly 10,000 kids at Western Illinois University, and not only were they bringing their books back to class with them, but they are also bringing the potential to spread the flu.

"Students are coming here from all over Illinois from all the nation and all over the world, so they're bringing all kinds of viruses and bacteria with them, so there's a high potential for not just flu but anything else," said Mary Margaret Harris, WIU's Health Services Director.

Harris says the flu is so serious this year that the Beu Health Center is distributing flu care packs to students living in residence halls. Those packages include hand sanitizers, disposable thermometers and fever reducers. 

Students interested in receiving a flu pack are encouraged to contact their resident advisor.

And not only are health officials worried about the flu spreading, but students are too.

"That worry is always there, like when you're back in the classrooms and it's stuffy, doors are usually closed and everyone is sniffling and not washing their hands," said Colleen Pratl

"I got to my dorm last night, and two guys are coughing and they are already sick, so I'm like that's worrying, so it is worrisome for me," said David Cruz.

And for those students who may think they are immune or plain just won't get sick, Harris warns this year's flu is nothing to mess with.

"Complications from the flu can be life threatening, people can develop pneumonia as well, and that's one of the things if someone gets better, seemingly gets better, but then comes down with a severe cough, that's a life threatening condition," said Harris.

Beu Health Center will be giving out the remaining flu vaccines for free to WIU students from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesday in the University Union concourse.

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