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Stomach Flu Plagues Students

Matt Olson ‘22, Staff Writer

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Since Oct. 29 roughly 30 students have reported symptoms of Viral Gastroenteritis to the Wellness Center with an increase this past week, according to Donald Domenici, associate director of counseling and psychiatric services.

“Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of last week were particularly busy at Health Services, due to a number of students coming in with symptoms of Viral Gastroenteritis,” said Domenici.

Viral gastroenteritis is an intestinal infection marked by watery diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea or vomiting, and sometimes fever, according to mayoclinic.org.

The most common way to develop viral gastroenteritis–often called the stomach flu–is through contact with an infected person or by ingesting contaminated food or water (mayoclinic.org).

“Viral Gastroenteritis is a very common illness on campus and in the community, and we tend to see an increase in viral illnesses around this time of year (and throughout the winter months),” wrote Domenici.

“Since it is a viral illness, there is no specific medicine to treat it, but it will usually run its course in 24-48 hours,” wrote Domenici. 

He followed-up with a college-wide e-mail on Nov. 6 cautioning students to practice “self-care and hygiene habits” and to “call the Wellness Center to schedule an appointment and have their symptoms evaluated” to avoid “illnesses such as the common cold, viral gastroenteritis (stomach flu) and influenza…” 

The stomach flu has spread across campus quickly, causing many students to develop the virus and experience the intense symptoms.

“I was vomiting for 16 hours straight” said Frances Taylor ’22. “It was just miserable.”

“I couldn’t stand up for long periods of time because I felt like I was going to faint,” said Rosey Pasco ’22.

The rapid spread of the infection was surprising to some first-year students who had never experienced anything like it before.

“It was the floor above me one day, the floor below me the next day, and then the day after that it hit my floor,” said Pasco.

“It’s a terrifying reminder of how many germs there are on a college campus and how uncontained they are,” said Taylor. 

Nurse practitioners at the Wellness Center gave stomach flu patients advice for a speedy recovery. 

“Our professionals at Health Services recommend that students drink plenty of water (or other non-caffeinated and non-alcoholic liquids) to prevent dehydration,” wrote Domenici.

In addition, students who recovered from the stomach flu had some suggestions of their own for anyone infected.

“Stay in,” said Pasco. “Don’t try and go to class, you’re not going to make it. Just e-mail your professors and try to tough it out.”

“Drink small sips of Gatorade every couple of hours with something salty to eat.” said Rayan Zia ’22.

“You need to monitor what you put in your body. There’s no medicine that going to fix it,” said Zia.

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Stomach Flu Plagues Students