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The Flu Epidemic

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Morgan Colvin

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The flu this season has quickly spread across the nation. In some states, it has reached epidemic proportions. This flu season started earlier than most, and the virus, H3N2 is particularly difficult. Out of 100 people I surveyed on campus and randomly throughout the valley, 60 of them contracted the flu since the flu season began this past fall. So, wanting to get an expert’s point of view, I had the chance to interview a physician, Dr. Vache Chakmakian. Dr. Chakmakian has been with Desert Oasis Urgent Care for five years, and at Blythe State Prison for the last eleven years. I also interviewed a Xavier student, Dylan Sykes, who experienced the intensity of this flu first hand.

In his talk, Dr. Chakmakian related that he noticed a rapid increase in the flu over a period of time. He believes this is due to poor hygiene habits, and he shared some helpful tips that he hopes the Xavier community will take to heart. Dr. Chakmakia stated that people should keep their hands washed and suggested they stay away from those who you know are sick. He added that people need to be aware of the signs of flu which, according to the CDC, include:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills (not everyone with flu will have fever)
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Vomiting and diarrhea, although this is more common in children than adults

Regarding flu shots, Dr. Chakmakian believes that the only people in the community that should get the flu shot are those who have a disease or who are senior citizens. He stated, “The flu shot is not necessary for everybody, and it only prevents very few types of flu”. His main points are shots are helpful only if it is needed as in a case of an immune system weakened by disease.

Flu survivor, Dylan Sykes

Dylan Sykes contracted the flu this season and was kind enough to share his experience. Sykes was so sick with the flu to the point of visiting the emergency room. The ER doctor told him about the spreading of the flu and how to care once the flu takes hold. The doctor prescribed Tylenol, rest and fluids. Eventually, Sykes found relief from the flu after a week and was soon back to normal. His advice to anyone who contracts the flu is to drink a lot of water!

Overall the flu this year has been widespread affecting all types of people. Heed Dr. Chakmakian, make sure to keep up a strong personal hygiene routine and look for signs/symptoms of the flu. Most importantly, if you are sick, please visit a physician for appropriate medical advice.

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The Flu Epidemic