The viral stylings of residence

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Sick in Bed

Jon Purdy

SOMEONE FORGOT TO TELL HER SHE NO LONGER HAS TO FAKE IT TO GET OUT OF CLASS. The conscientious frosh will do everything in her power to avoid falling ill. Let this primer on common rez illnesses help you learn what to watch out for.

Amidst all the excitement of the frosh scene, it’s easy to fall ill. Living in residence with so many people affords you many shared experiences " including the common cold.

Common illnesses
The common cold " the flu. There are 200 varieties of the virus that causes the symptoms of the cold. Symptoms include a running or blocked nose, sore throat, headache and night-time cough. There is no specific treatment for viral infections, but over-the-counter medicines fluids and rest can help.

Mononucleosis. Mono, known as the “kissing disease,” is a flu-like illness that causes sore throat and enlargement of the lymph nodes in the neck. It is spread via coughing, sneezing, and sharing drinking glasses. Symptoms include fatigue, weakness, sore throat, fever, swollen lymph nodes and tonsils, headache, skin rashes, and loss of appetite. It can be diagnosed with a blood test.

Meningitis. An infection, either viral or bacterial, causing inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. It enters the body through the nose and mouth and spreads by coughs, sneezes and saliva. For most people it is a harmless infection, but for others it can become a deadly illness. Symptoms include temperature and headache, nausea, vomiting and backache, a stiff neck and a rash. You can protect yourself with a vaccination.

Pink Eye. Pink eye is an inflammation or infection of the transparent membrane lining your eyelid and part of your eyeball. Symptoms include eye irritation, redness in the white of the eye, discharge from the eyes, swollen eyelids, and light sensitivity. The leading cause of pink eye is from a viral infection, but it can also be caused by a bacterial infection, of an allergic response. It can be treated with antibacterial eyedrops, available from your doctor.

Strep Throat. Strep throat is caused by the bacteria Streptococcus and is very contagious. Symptoms include throat pain, difficulty swallowing, red and swollen tonsils (sometimes with white patches or streaks of pus), swollen, tender lymph nodes in your neck, fever, headache, rash, and stomachache. It spreads through airborne droplets, like coughs and sneezes and on surfaces like doorknobs, utensils or bathroom items.

In order to lower your risk of illness in rez, you should wash your hands frequently, avoid sharing drinking glasses or eating utensils, and avoid close contact with an individual who is ill. If you develop an illness and your symptoms persist or become severe, you should visit Student Health Services or your family doctor.

"With files from Allison Buchan-Terrell

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