LC Health Center’s Response to Flu Pandemic

Brennae Spence, Guest Writer~

Lynchburg College’s Health Center has experienced a peak year for student patients. This rise has been attributed to the record breaking flu season. The number of cases reported for the 2016-2017 school year was 49 and rose to 129 this school year.

Nurse Practitioner and Interim Clinical Director of the Health Center, Lisa Geier said, “This flu season was unusual in that the numbers increased a little earlier than typically we see, and we had higher numbers.”

Geier also noted that the majority of the cases were seen and reported very early in the semester, “We started classes on the 15th and our first case was on the 16th.”

There was also a snow day during the first week of classes that contributed to the escalation of cases. Geier said, “Our numbers increased dramatically after that snow day.”

Health center staff. Photo by Brennae Spence. March 29, 2018.

Health Center Staff. Photo by Brennae Spenace

Additionally, changes were made to health center practices to mitigate the high number of cases. Geier noted, “One change we did make with this flu season was we implemented pink slips… We have not done that in previous years, but we did put that in place to try to get people to self-isolate.”

Geier noted that the pink slips seemed to really work for the Health Center. She said, “We’ll probably do that next year.”

According to Geier, if a student has the flu their fever can last three to five days. “Potentially a student can miss a week, five days of class if they’re running fevers.”

Nurse Practitioner Jessica Melin said while you might be worried about your absences but “It’s not just about you.” She continued, “You may be concerned about missing class…but you have to think about how you’re going to affect everybody else around you.”

In preparation for next year’s flu season Nurse Practitioner Ruth Robertson stressed that the best way for students to prevent and prepare better is to get a flu shot.