Flu virus ‘DePlague’ takes over DePaul’s Lincoln Park campus

Sage Medical Group provides medical care for DePaul students.  (File photo)
Sage Medical Group provides medical care for DePaul students. (File photo)

Fall is in the air, which means pumpkin spice, changing leaves, and  “The DePlague.” The phrase is spreading around campus while also finding its way onto social media such as YikYak.

Although “The DePlauge” is a clever way of describing the illnesses DePaul students have, university health officials are not ready to coin this year as an epidemic.

“It is still quite early in the year. So far, the number of students seen in Student Health is similar to previous years,” Shannon Suffoletto,  Director of Health Promotion and Wellness at DePaul said.

This season’s illnesses seem to vary from respiratory symptoms to rashes.

“The majority presenting complaint is always upper respiratory symptoms. At diagnosis this ranges from bronchitis and asthma to strep, and allergies. At this time of the year, there are also always a variety of other issues we typically see—sprains, rashes, upset stomachs,etc,” Suffoletto said.

Many students start off with common cold symptoms, sneezing, runny nose, and headaches, but those symptoms can quickly develop into respiratory problems, which freshman Margaret Brennan experienced.

Living in such close quarters, it is no surprise that she got bronchitis from her roommate. She did, however, have some strategies to get better such as “antibiotics, soup, and sleep as much as [she] could, although it is hard to get sleep being a college student.”

It would seem that flu shots would appeal to young people but it isn’t always the case.

“Typically most young adults feel ‘invincible’ and, as a result, this is typically the population least likely to get flu shots. The rate of young people getting flu shots is usually about 35 to 40 percent annually” Suffoletto said.

The most basic and forgotten technique to prevent the spread of germs is hand washing.

The Ray Meyer Fitness Center requires hands-on activities, and hand washing is crucial when maintaining wellness among members.

Lucia Yepez, a junior and Ray employee said the best advice to not get sick is to “wash your hands. We deal with a lot of locker keys and scanning the ids, so make sure you wash your hands and do not touch your face. Also, a combination of sleeping, eating well, and working out will help promote your wellness.”

Soup and sleep always seem to be the perfect remedy for a sick day, but there are many other ways to protect against getting sick.

Although there is some controversy on the effectiveness of the flu shot, it is still a practical technique for flu season.

“The flu shot will not prevent you from having the flu. Nothing will prevent you from having the flu. But it will kind of slow the rapidness of its symptoms” said Alicia Perry, Clinical Supervisor at Sage Medical Health Center.