What To Do About the Flu

By JANIE HARRIS
Staff Writer

According to the Center for Disease Control, Georgia was one of 35 states that recently reported to have widespread influenza activity, meaning more than half of the regions in the state have reported outbreaks of influenza.
According to the CDC, influenza, also called the flu, is “a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.”
Don’t think that Piedmont is exempt from this flu activity. There has been at least one case reported on Piedmont’s campus.
Freshman undecided major Courtney Swindle recently recovered from the flu. Her first symptoms were a stuffy nose and a sore throat.
The CDC reports that early symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, fatigue and, in some cases, vomiting.
“I couldn’t sleep because I had a stuffy nose, and I just felt awful,” said Swindle.
She said she thinks that if she dressed for the cold weather a bit better she might have prevented the flu.
“If you think you might have the flu, start taking it easy and just remember that teachers don’t want you in class when you are sick anymore than you want to be there,” Swindle said.
Experts from the CDC say the flu is spread by those infected who unknowingly release droplets of moisture while coughing, sneezing or talking.
They also say you may be able to spread the flu before you even know you are sick.
“Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick,” said the CDC on their website.
Swindle went to a doctor near her home in Commerce, but not all students have that opportunity.
Piedmont does not have an on-campus health care facility, but the college does recommend three health care centers. In fact, PrimeCare, one of the centers recommended by Piedmont, allows Piedmont full-time students living on campus an office visit free of charge.
PrimeCare is located just up the road from Piedmont’s campus inside the Habersham Medical Center. They are open Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Friday 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Patients at PrimeCare are seen by appointment only, so you have to call ahead. They have a limited number of same-day appointments.
Piedmont also recommends First Care of Habersham an Immediate Care Center. This is a clinic ideal for the uninsured according to the Piedmont College Student Handbook. An office visit cost $40 with an additional cost if a diagnostic test is run. Appointments are not taken at First Care, and insurance is not filed. First Care is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. according to their answering machine recording.
The third recommendation Piedmont gives is Express Care of Habersham located inside Tim’s Pharmacy. Here an office visit also costs $40. However tests and lab work varies in price depending on what the test is. A complete list of costs can be found on their website www.expresscarehabersham.com. They are open Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. according to the Piedmont College Student Handbook.
Still the CDC recommends to prevent yourself from catching the flu, you should get the flu vaccine.
The nearest place to Piedmont to get the flu vaccine according to the CDC’s HealthMap Vaccine Finder is the pharmacy in Kmart. Appointments are not needed here, but they do recommend calling ahead to confirm the availability of the vaccine. Kmart’s pharmacy should have the vaccine available until March 31.
Other than getting vaccinated, the CDC said other ways to prevent the flu include the following:
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Stay home when you are sick.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue anytime you cough or sneeze.
Clean your hands.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill.
Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.