By Allison Milton/The AS Review

Remember the swine flu? Remember the fear it caused Western students as they prepared themselves for the worst? Although it may seem as though H1N1 has vanished from our campus, Emily Gibson, director of the Western Student Health Center, said it is still prevalent. However, the H1N1 virus has been affecting fewer students since it hit its peak in fall quarter. The Health Center sees about four or five students a day with flu-like symptoms, which is typical for this time of year, Gibson said.

At the height of H1N1 in October, the Health Center was seeing 120 patients with flu-like symptoms per week. More than 600 students were seen at the Health Center with flu-like symptoms since the beginning of fall quarter. The amount of patients with the flu started to dwindle after Thanksgiving break, Gibson said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), H1N1 will continue for several more months and the flu afflicting patients throughout the country is a form of the H1N1 Influenza A virus.

Just because the Swine Flu may be out of students’ minds does not mean that the Health Center is not taking precautions to prevent the flu on campus. And whether or not flu season is upon us, the Health Center is prepared.

“Flu season usually is October through March,” Gibson said. “Last year H1N1 started in April and extended through the summer into the fall, so ‘flu season’ is all dependent on the virus and its transmissibility.”

Students who are experiencing flu-like symptoms can do a self-assessment survey, which can be found on the Health Center’s Web site, in order to determine whether a consultation is needed. If you do need to be seen at the Health Center, you can fill out the symptom-specific questionnaire  before your appointment to give the health care provider a better understanding of your needs.

THE STUDENT HEALTH CENTER

The Health Center is located in the Campus
Services building on Bill McDonald Parkway. They are open Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. To call the Health Center, dial (360) 650-3400.