Oxford, MS – A common sound amongst Ole Miss students right now is sniffling and coughs.
The flu has swept through what Oxford, MS these last few weeks of January and early February.
According to the CDC Mississippi is one of 23 states experiencing high flu conditions. Based on the National Center for Health Statistics available on January 31, 2019, 7.2% of the deaths occurring during the week ending January 19, 2019, were due to Pneumonia and Influenza.
The Mississippi State Department of Health has seen an increase in the Oxford area alone last week. In Mississippi, there has been a total of 16,390 confirmed cases on January 19, 2019.
While it may seem like the problem is more than normal Sandy Bentley, a pharmacist at the University Health Center, said they have not seen more patients than normal. The doctors have had to turn away students and send them to Red-Med or Urgent Care just because they have met capacity
“It seems that it has occurred later than usual because normally everyone is home over Christmas break when this happens” Bentley stated.
Junior Grace Waugh was hit with the first week of the flu. She said attendance in her classes was no problem.
“They were very understanding! They were empathetic and caring and just wanted me to feel better” Waugh said.
Many teachers are pleading for students to not come to class with the flu, while others have no leeway on their attendance policy. 4 out of 5 students, however, said their teachers understood the circumstances and just requested a doctors note.
Professor Charles Mitchell teaches large lecture classes on Communications Law.
“It’s strange, but I have only had one or two ‘flu’ excuses. Attendance has been pretty solid.
Also, sometimes during ‘cold and flu season,’ there’s a lot of coughing and sneezing among students. I have not heard as much of that as I expected when I heard about all the students out of local grade schools” Mitchell said.
Professor Denis Irwin is a graphic design teacher in the journalism school. He said he had only one student out for the flu but is now feeling under the weather himself.
“If someone has missed for the flu, I’m going to help them get back up to speed with the class when they get back. Also, I won’t count illness against a student” said Irwin.
Sophomore Chloe Bardon felt sick starting Wednesday and went to Red-Med here in Oxford. They sent her away with antibiotics because she tested negative for the flu. They said she had not come in soon enough for it to test positive. She did have the flu and was prescribed Tamiflu and is still recovering while going to class.
“I missed a test but thankfully my teacher said he would take my next test grade and double it. I was lucky enough to have my school work not get in the way” Bardon said.
Claire Sanderson is a fitness program assistant at the Turner Center. While going to the gym might not be a flu patients first choice of location it is still a concern to the staff. She said they have seen a decrease in attendance but cannot be sure that is flu related.
“We have not changed our cleaning routines or cleaning products, but we have really been diligent about wiping down all surfaces and machines and cleaning even more frequently,” said Sanderson.
The University is also sending out a PDF of tips to prevent the flu. It gives information explaining to cover your mouth when you cough, avoid sick people if a person should become sick seek medical attention 24 hours after fever starts. It also advises taking a fever reducer and getting enough rest.
If the choice is between missing a day of class and getting well, just stay home and get well.