The Wayne Stater

WSC students brace for the annual winter sickness

Blake Hilkemeier, Staff Writer

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Students across the Wayne State College campus are trying their best to steer clear of illness as the harsh winter approaches. The faculty around WSC is also doing their best to provide a clean environment and keep students happy and healthy.

There are germs all across college campuses; from the bathrooms, to the cafeteria, to the dorm rooms, students are constantly surrounded by germs.

While most students will catch common illnesses, such as a sore throat or a cold, some students have been unfortunate enough to come down with more serious illnesses, such as the flu or pneumonia.

“I was in the hospital for a week with pneumonia,” student Caitlyn Beed said. “I’d never had pneumonia before, and in high school I was a pretty healthy person. I think being outside a lot probably contributed to it. Being around everyone else that has also been sick around campus probably hasn’t helped too much either.”

With students getting sick, it’s hard to determine if there’s more the school could do to keep things cleaner as the cold and flu season rolls around.

“I think that campus does a pretty good job of keeping things clean,” Beed said. “There’s really not much they can do about it, I don’t think.”

With all the germs going around campus, there are many types of diseases one could catch, some which could possibly spread throughout their classmates or roommate while living at WSC.

“We see a lot of viral things,” Kathy Bird, a registered nurse at WSC, said. “Lots of viruses such as hand, foot and mouth disease, respiratory viruses, gastrointestinal viruses, lots of typical colds.”

There are also much more complicated diseases running around campus that can be easily caught if students are not careful.

“We’re starting to see a lot of mono,” Bird said. “There’s just a lot of stuff going around that is very easily spread amongst students here at WSC.”

Students that are particular about taking care of themselves shouldn’t have to worry about.

“There’s many ways you can stop these viruses from infecting your body. Of course, good rest always helps,” Bird said. “Eating good is another huge factor. Good hand washing, staying as far away from anybody who is sick as possible, and if you’re sick you should always try to stay away from those who are healthy to avoid spreading the disease even further.”

Although it may seem like there are more sick people on campus and illnesses are more frequent on campus than compared to high school, that may not actually be the case.

“(The germs around college campuses) are probably about the same compared to a high school,” Bird said. “It might be a little bit different of a viral thing in high schools than it is in colleges, but overall it is probably about the same in terms of illness.”

Even if students were regularly healthy in high school, it’s important they try their best to remain healthy in college.

“There’s lots of things that factor into students getting sicker once they arrive at college,” Bird said. “They get their defenses down, they aren’t eating right, they stop washing their hands as well as they should. Sometimes it’s a mental thing too, they start feeling down because they’re away from home, and they just let their guard down. Those are all things that tend to factor in to the average student getting sicker than they are used to.”

One place on campus has the possibility of containing the most germs on campus if not kept up with properly: the cafeteria.

“There’s lots of things we have to do every day to make sure our cafeteria is the cleanest it can possibly be,” said Mike Carlson, director of dining services at WSC. “We are audited twice a year by the state of Nebraska, and we also have a corporate auditing process, which is monthly.”

When audited, they are monitored to make sure that everything is being done in a certain way, and the food is being served with the most cleanliness possible.

“There are seven critical control points that come into factor when making and serving our food the way it should be done,” Carlson said. “Receiving food, storing food, prepping the food, cooking the food, holding the food, serving the food, and disposing the food. Each point is looked at very closely when inspected.”

“Now, obviously if [a student] is to sneeze on the table without covering their mouth in any way, and we aren’t able to clean it before the next person sits down, there’s not a lot we can do about that,” Carlson said. “But we really do our best to make sure that we keep everything we can control very sanitary and clean to help our students stay healthy.”

It is very important that students take care of themselves. They should continue washing their hands regularly, maintaining a steady diet, and dressing appropriately for the weather. Those who do should be able to make it through this rough cold and flu season at WSC without much of a problem.

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WSC students brace for the annual winter sickness