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Flu season severe this year

January 10, 2013

This year’s flu season is severe with the number of flu cases nationwide almost three times the number of 2011-12 cases at their peak level.

Most of the country is currently experiencing high levels of influenza-like illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Influenza is currently reported in 14 of Arizona’s 15 counties, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

“ASU Health Services has experienced a significant increase in the past week of students with Influenza or Influenza-like Illness that is causing more respiratory symptoms and lasting longer than what we have seen in previous years,” said Allan Markus, director of ASU Health Services.

The good news is that flu vaccine is available at all ASU Health Centers and this year's vaccine is effective.

“We’re urging all ASU students, faculty and staff to come in for their flu vaccine. There’s nothing worse than starting the semester with a bad case of flu that is going to keep you down for almost two weeks,” Markus said.

No appointment is necessary for a flu vaccine. Please bring your ASU ID and health insurance card. The vaccine is covered by the ASU Aetna and Bridge Plan. In addition, most private insurance carriers will cover the cost. Flu vaccines cost $20 for those without health insurance.

And, keep these tips in mind to stay healthy this semester:

• Wash your hands thoroughly with warm water for at least 15 seconds (or the time it takes to sing Row, Row, Row Your Boat) especially after going to the bathroom and before eating.

• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue every time you cough or sneeze and throw the tissue away after one use. If you don't have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve, not your hands since germs spread more easily through hands.

• Wear a face mask when in close proximity to people who have the flu. Disinfect surfaces such as phones, keyboards, doorknobs, and faucets frequently. Avoid close contact with people who have the flu.

• If you are sick, stay home and avoid others as much as possible.

• Call your health care provider at the first sign of the flu. Anti-viral medications may help in speeding up the recovery process.

• Keep a supply of medicines, including fever reducers and anti-diarrhea medicine, fluids with electrolytes, tissue, toilet paper and other supplies recommended so that when someone becomes ill you already have basic supplies and don't need to make a trip to the store for these items.

More information is available at and at ASU Health Services