Students seeking treatment for the flu have nearly tripled in the past month, according to an official with the Lindenwood Health Center.
The campus office is seeing about five patients a day who have the virus, said nurse practitioner Deanna Towelson.
Towelson cited recent travel by students as one cause for the rise in flu cases.
The flu also has affected other areas of St. Charles County, causing schools like St. Dominic High in O’Fallon to cancel class on Feb. 9 after 90 students and staff came down with the illness, according to an article on stltoday.com.
Doug Bolnick, public information officer for the St. Charles County Public Health Department, said that several bugs are going around, but that more cases of the flu have been reported in the past few weeks.
He said that the cause is hard to pinpoint, but the weather could be a factor.
“The flu spreads because of people being close to each other,” he said. “So when the weather gets cold, people tend to stay inside, which makes them closer to each other.”
He said that everyone should get a flu shot and wash his or her hands regularly to help avoid catching the flu.
Bolnick also said that people who have a runny noses, sore throats or high fevers should get checked out. If a fever spikes over 100 degrees, seek medical attention immediately, he said.
Bolnick also had a recommendation for students who suspect they might have the flu.
“The flu is very contagious, so stay home if you’re feeling crummy,” he said. “I know it’s hard to miss class, but it’s better for everyone in the long run if you stay home when you’re feeling like that.”
Towelson agreed that students should stay home if they are feeling ill and that people should wash their hands often.
“That goes for people in the community too; always wash your hands,” she said.