Campus prepares for winter months

EMILY HENDERSON
STAFF WRITER

January marks the midway point of influenza season, but that doesn’t mean that the infection rate of this illness will slow down. Winter is prime cold and flu season, but that’s not the only ailment that may affect the students of this campus.

As daylight hours lessen and become overrun with darkness, many faculty members and students alike may begin to feel a little down in the dumps. Alma College’s Health and Wellness Center is ready to tackle any issues that may arise during this season.

There are many measures that each student can take to ensure their mental and physical health is in tip-top shape this semester. One step that those in the Wilcox Medical Center encourage everyone to take is receiving the flu vaccine.

“I think [the flu vaccine] is very valuable because the flu can become deadly, so I think it’s important that we’re vaccinated to try and help prevent that and the spread of influenza. It is highly contagious,” said Allison Neyer, Simulation Technologist in the Nursing Department.

Some may feel as though there is no merit in receiving the flu vaccine this far into influenza season, but those in the Wilcox Medical Center disagree.

“We do still have [flu] vaccines available at Wilcox. They do take 2 weeks to be effective, but we still recommend getting them. Flu season goes typically through April, and last year’s flu season came late in our area and the surrounding counties, so I recommend even now if you haven’t received it you come in and get it,” said Renee Kern, family nurse practitioner.

Not only is the influenza more common this time of year, common colds are also seen more often.

The flu vaccine is the best way to fight against influenza. There are other methods that students can use to keep the common cold at bay.

“Hand-washing is the number one way to prevent illness year-round and especially this time of year, so wash your hands often,” said Kern.

While the Wilcox Medical Center is available for all of your sickness-related needs, those who may be feeling a little worse for wear in the emotional sense can find help in the Counselling and Wellness Center, located in the Wilcox building as well.

“SAD stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder. SAD is a form of depression that occurs around a specific time of year typically in autumn and winter,” said David Wier, one of the counselors at the Counseling and Wellness Center located next to Hogan.

Many students may begin to feel a lull in their day-to-day life, which can be a common occurrence due to the limited sunlight in the winter.

The Counseling and Wellness Center has a sun-light that is available for all students to use whenever they need it. Along with that students can receive a one-on-one counseling session to discuss whatever they need to.

Many students may feel embarrassed or awkward when wanting to try the resources this center offers, but it is much more common than many may know.

“Of the 2019 graduating class 49% of students accessed mental health services at some point during their time at Alma College,” said Wier.

Many students may not be thinking about things such as mental and physical health so early in the semester, but it is important to keep them in mind during these cold months.

Keeping good hygiene as well as being open about the state of your mental health are both important for each student to practice during these cold winter months.

“We’re always happy to see you in Wilcox if you have any concerns about your health,” said Kern.

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