The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Saturday June 10th

Stay fresh, avoid flu

Editor's note: The Daily Tar Heel has tracked four freshmen since August, gauging their health habits as they adjust to college life. Each month, the freshmen are weighed by the DTH, and answer questions concerning a featured health issue. Campus is a dangerous place. Or at least it can be, if students aren't careful to avoid some common health pitfalls, especially during flu season, which started this month. Freshmen might be particularly at risk during flu season because of their lack of college-life experience, said Carol Kozel, nursing director at Campus Health Services. "This is the first time away from home and their time-management and stress-management skills might not be as honed as someone who has been around the block once," she said. Every year, 5 to 20 percent of the population gets the flu and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized because of flu complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That means days or weeks of coughs, fevers, exhaustion, nausea and muscle aches. It also means missed class, missed parties and ugly chapped noses. Freshman Anand Dwivedi said he has had a cold several times already, probably because of lack of rest. But he has yet to get a flu shot. He also said he has not been eating enough because of his schedule. "I've woken up really late and then realize I have a paper to write," he said. "There have been a lot of skipped meals." Though Kozel said CHS has yet to see flu cases, she said eating healthy, drinking fluids, exercising and avoiding smoking and stress are ways to dodge illness. Flu shots are available for $20 from CHS, she said. While there have been shortages of the flu vaccine in the past, the CDC reported in mid-September that the U.S. vaccine supply appeared sufficient for the current season. According to the CDC, October and November are the best times to get vaccinated. Freshman David Luther said he has considered getting a flu shot, but hasn't been home to do it and doesn't know where to get the vaccine. "I didn't wash my hands a lot a month ago. But I got sick." Since then he said he's being more diligent about scrubbing up. Freshman Emily Hylton said she plans to get a flu shot soon. "I was just saying to my roommate the other day that I need to think about that," she said. Pete Reinhardt is the director of the UNC Department of Environment, Health and Safety. His department spearheaded the hand-washing campaign that places posters in bathrooms on campus. "These things just become ingrained," he said. Hylton has seen the posters of Rameses saying "Beat the Germs!" But students might not be as aware of illness as they should be. "I don't think it's something people think about a lot," she said. Margaret Vimmerstedt, a physician at CHS, said students should use common sense to stay healthy. "Washing hands and doing the cold-shoulder cough - they aren't very sexy things to do, but if everyone were doing that, we wouldn't see some of the outbreaks we saw." Name: Emily Hylton Height: 5 feet 7 inches Aug. weight: 133 lbs. Oct. weight: 131.5 lbs. Hometown: Dublin, Ireland Flu shot? No Name: David Luther Height: 5 feet 9 inches Aug. weight: 155 lbs. Oct. weight: 165.5 lbs. Hometown: Greensboro Flu shot? No Name: Kara Wynne Height: 5 feet 6 1/2 inches Aug. weight: 135 lbs. Oct. weight: 132 Hometown: Robersonville Flu shot? No Contact the Features Editor at


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