Colleges Taking Precautions Against Flu

The severe and deadly flu season is still getting worse with people being hospitalized at a high rate for influenza-related illnesses.

According the the CDC, the influenza virus is now widespread in every state.

As a result, Boston-area colleges are taking steps to make sure their students aren't spreading the flu throughout their campuses.

"It's pretty gnarly," says Stevie Gordon, a student at Berkeley.

You definitely don't want it, and most are hoping they don't get exposed to it.

"I know one person and they didn’t leave their room for like three days," Berkeley student Clifford Matt said.

Influenza Surveillance Report (Week Ending Jan. 27, 2018)
Click on each state for more information.

Data: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Nina Lin/NBC

"I bought a bottle of sanitizer so that’s step one I guess," said Kevin Kelleher, a Berkeley music student who just recovered from the flu.

But sometimes all the sanitzier in the world can't help you as college students think twice about their health in order to keep up with their packed schedules.

Left: Reported Flu Activity for the Week of Dec. 31, 2016 (Week 52); Right: Reported Flu Activity for the Week of Dec. 30, 2017 (Week 52)
Data: CDC

"The thing that makes it so contagious at berklee is sharing practice rooms and instruments and microphones," Kelleher said.

It's a hard virus to dodge when you're shuffling in and out of classrooms used by hundreds per day.

"College is like a Petri dish for a lot of things and when flu season comes around you know.

Some campuses like Bentley are stepping up the cleanining on campus.

They recently sent this email to their students:

“The facilities have worked many hours to make sure all common areas railings and door handles as well as shared furniture surfaces are cleaned with Virex, a solution which KILLS influenza.”

Dr. Al DeMAria with the Department of Public Health says this flu season started in November, which was way earlier than they've seen in the past.

And there's a significant uptick in the flu after the holidays.

Dr. DeMaria says it could be that students are headed back to school at that time.

"I think what we are seeing is people coming back together and opportunity for the transmission of the disease."

So wash your hands, get your flu shot and hope your classmates are kind enough to stay home from class if they get sick.

"My mom had always told me to wash my hands and I do that."

"I got it super late in the season. I’m keeping my fingers crossed."

"I never actually had the flu so knock on wood."

Experts say not only this season but every season people should be concerned with the flu.

At Mass General alone, they have treated 581 cases of the flu.

The Department of Public Health is encouraging people to still get their flu shot if they haven't yet this season.

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