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Cold and flu season strikes early

Cold and Flu season is hitting Loyalist College hard. [1]

Cold and flu season is hitting Loyalist College hard, the school’s nurse says.

By Jordan Merkley [2] and Sean McIntosh [3]

BELLEVILLE – Loyalist College [4] students are getting hit hard with the dreaded cold and flu [5] season.

The interaction of students leads to an increase in the spreading of colds, said Lauren Deans, the student-services nurse at Loyalist.

“You get a whole bunch of people who don’t know each other, and they’re all put into an institution, either residence or even through the college, and your germs don’t match, so all of a sudden you’re catching everything that everybody has,” Deans said.

The symptoms include sore throat, stuffiness and a nasty cough, she said.

The best ways to avoid getting sick are to drink lots of fluids, get plenty of rest and wash your hands, Deans added.

The cold season has gotten off to an early start this year, and flu season is coming up, she said.

Richard Schabas, medical officer of health for Hastings and Prince Edward counties, said that influenza can arrive as early as October, although flu activity doesn’t tend to increase until the middle of December.

Schabas recommends people stay one step ahead of the flu.

“If people are going to take the useful step of getting themselves immunized against influenza [6], it’s far more useful to get it done in October or November, before the peak of the flu season,” he said.

This year’s flu vaccine will be available at family doctors’ offices and local clinics, including Loyalist College, within the next couple of weeks, Schabas said.