Lauren Hancock, a junior in graphic design at Auburn University, had a personal experience with the sickness. “It started with a sore throat, then constant coughing and then a fever,” Hancock said. According to Hancock, her sickness had multiple stages, ending with severe sinus trouble. “It lasted about a week,” Hancock said. “But it was more intense over a five day period.”
Hancock visited her Campus Medical Clinic four days after she began feeling sick. “The doctor told me that it was just a virus going around,” Hancock said. “They said it just had to run its course.” Rather than giving her an antibiotic to treat the virus, Hancock said the doctor gave her medicine to treat her symptoms. She was prescribed Bromfed that was supposed to subdue her cough until the virus had run its course. While the medicine subdued her symptoms, Hancock said that her virus has now spread to her boyfriend as well as one of her close friends.
Greg Peden serves as the manager of the student pharmacy in the Auburn University Medical Clinic and said that Hancock’s case is nothing out of the ordinary for this time of year. “The flu is definitely going around really bad right now,” Peden said. “The flu and cold season tends to work itself between the fall and spring.”
According to Peden, the virus that Hancock and so many other students have experienced is just the common cold. “There are over 100 different virus that classify as the common cold,” Peden said. “They [the doctors] just don’t typically try to narrow it down.”
When asked why flu and cold season falls between the fall and spring, Peden said “the students coming in definitely helps spread it.” Living in close quarters like dorms and apartments are a cause for the rapid and widespread effect of the sickness, according to Peden. “The last few weeks we have averaged between 10 and 20 students with the flu a day,” Peden said. “And we hardly saw any before that.”
Peden said that for Auburn students with the common cold viruses, he prescribes medicines like Bromfed that “basically are just aimed at the symptoms.” The typical symptoms include a runny nose, itchy eyes, a sore throat and stuffy sinuses.
Renee Waller, medical assistant at an Urgent Care clinic, said she does not know of a specific virus spreading around college campuses. “The only thing we’ve got going on is the flu, strep and stomach virus,” Waller said. According to Waller, the clinic stays busy during the later half of each fall semester with the majority of patients being students. “I have been in the medical field for 28 years and it hits this year every time,” Waller said. She said she encourages students to wash their hands, cover their mouths when they cough, eat plenty of green vegetables and fruit and drink orange juice in order to avoid catching any type of sickness.
Agreeing with Waller, Peden said encourages students to take the ordinary precautions such as washing hands and covering mouths to avoid getting sick. “Honestly, those are about the only things you can do,” Peden said. In extreme cases, Peden said that some students may choose to wear a facemask in public places, “but most don’t want to go to that extreme.”
Contributing Author: Lindsey Raygan