Health News

Flu season comes early to UCF

central florida future

The seasonal flu has hit, and UCF is not immune. Many students and faculty have been catching influenza, and some of those who have escaped its symptoms have been using the many flu shot opportunities around campus.

The peak of flu season is typically mid-February, but director of Health Services Michael Deichen said he believes it reached its peak in late December 2012. Most students are gone at that time, so when the semester started again, the Health Center saw many of those student cases, Deichen said.

Sophomore advertising and public relations student Vanessa Charcas caught the flu right at its peak.

“I had it on Dec. 26 for about 36 hours,” Charcas said. “I was lucky because most people caught the flu for a few days.”

She said she experienced symptoms such as nausea, upset stomach, high temperature and the chills.

Currently, the national average of people with the flu is 4.3 percent, and UCF is slightly above the national average, Deichen said. Approximately 5.8 percent of the Health Center’s patients have had flu-like symptoms, said Mary Schmidt-Owens, assistant director of Medical Health Administration at the Health Center.

Since the beginning of spring semester, Health Services has seen 1,488 visits in which a patient had to see a doctor, and 86 of them have been for influenza. This averages to about six or seven flu cases per day, Schmidt-Owens said.

Knight Aid near the Arena has been busier than usual due to the flu season, student cashier at Knight Aid Thomas Faucette said.

“We’ve had to restock our medicine many times,” Faucette said. “The pharmacy has had its hands full.”

In comparison to previous years Faucette believes it has been a much worse flu season. Winter break was much busier than usual, he said.

“I am very scared of getting the flu,” Faucette said. “I’m consistently disinfecting the area and washing my hands. I am prone to getting sick, especially from working at Knight Aid.”

Areas surrounding campus have not been shy of the flu, either. Centra Care, located on University Boulevard, has seen many flu cases since the beginning of the season. [Read full story]