Student Health Services ready to help with seasonal illnesses

(At left) Student Health Services Director Leatha Ross advises regular hand washing, covered coughing and high fluid intake to reduce the chances of contracting a virus.

We’ve all seen and read the stories. Flu season is just around the corner; the mumps has returned to Ohio, a respiratory virus is hitting the Midwest hard, national coverage on Ebola has been non-stop.

While you’re not likely to be affected by the mumps, the enterovirus or Ebola, it’s the season for a quick refresher on how to stay healthy and who to talk to if you think you’ve caught a bug. Student Health Services can be a resource for many on campus seeking treatment or information about prevention.

“There’s a lot about Ebola and the enterovirus (the respiratory virus that’s been hitting the Midwest) in the news, and we’ve got links for people to learn more about them, but the best advice is to think about being preventive,” said Leatha Ross, director of Student Health Services (SHS). “The same things we always do during flu season.”

Regular hand washing, cough covering, consuming lots of fluids, fruits and vegetables —these are the tried-and-true preventive measures for anything you might encounter this season. And if you feel a bug coming on, Ross said the best thing to do is to stay home if you have a temperature over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

“That’s the key with the common flu or any of these other things really. We’ve seen students with sore throats and a coughs but no high fevers yet,” said Ross.

The state of Ohio has two confirmed cases of the common flu so far this season and 33 cases of the mumps following an uncharacteristic outbreak in the spring. Student Health Services monitors Ohio’s numbers closely and also serves as a regional reporting site for sending all new diagnoses to the state. SHS also monitors public health issues nationally.

Student Health Services posts links to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) websites and wants more people to know that they can use the links as a resource if they have concerns.

In Ross’s mind, what the average person should focus on is simple. Whether you are worried about an exotic, news-making virus or just the common cold, the preventive steps are the same: regular hand washing, cough covering, consuming lots of fluids.

“If you look at Ebola, you look at flus, you look at colds, a lot of those beginning symptoms overlap, and they’re viral,” said Ross. “So the best thing to do is prevent. Because if you contract a virus, you can bet that in seven to 10 days, you’ll be sick.”

Ebola is notably different than the aforementioned viruses in that a person must come in contact with secretions of an infected individual whereas the flu and common cold are contracted through respiratory contact.

“Prevention is the key. Get a flu shot. If you become ill with a cough, headaches and body aches, take care of it at home,” said Ross. “But if you have that sore throat. If you start running that fever at 100 or higher, then contact us in Student Health Services.”

Student Health Services is located at 051 Student Union and can be contacted at 775-2552 or

Comments are closed.