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Winter illness plagues Castleton

You’ve all heard it before: the ominous cough or the obnoxious sniffle present in your ear for en entire class. The wheezing, sneezing, and hacking. These are all sounds one can relate to, especially students at Castleton State College.

It’s prime time for those pesky bacteria to make their way into your mouths, noses and eyes. These bacteria can haunt you for days, or sometimes, even weeks.

Roommates exchange airborne germs in a fierce back and forth cycle. Friends share drinks, and those in relationships swap spit.

No matter how you may have gotten it, most of you have probably experienced some form of the “Castleton plague.”

“This has been the worst year [for illnesses] that I’ve seen in almost five years,” said Castleton Wellness Center Nurse Deb Choma.

With a scarf wrapped around her neck, worn not only for the cold but primarily for opening doors or itching her eyes and nose, and surrounded by as array of Clorox wipes, Choma said that she never gets sick.

“It’s all about prevention. My hands are raw from washing them all the time, but I just don’t get sick,” said Choma knocking on wood.

The most common illness this year has been the flu. The symptoms of which include fever, headache, muscle aches, chills, extreme tiredness, cough, runny nose and stomach symptoms as well.

Other prevalent illnesses include strep throat or bronchitis.

In December the wellness center did offer a flu shot to students, but evidently not enough students took advantage of this opportunity.

Castleton freshman Lindsay Sedore was bedridden for over four days, and sick for nearly three weeks until she finally got better.

“It was a pain because I first went to the emergency room and they told me I had a sinus infection,” Sedore said. “After I finished my medication I was still sick so I then went to the doctors office and it turned out I had the flu.”

Currently the on-campus wellness center is unable to prescribe medication for students, only a diagnosis. Next year may prove to be different though.

“Castleton used to have several doctors on campus, but it is simply not possible for them to practice in this old house,” Choma said.

Since Choma is friends with these practitioners, there is hopes that they will come back to Castleton next year, as the Wellness Center will by then be located in the new campus center.

“I am beside myself with excitement!” Choma exclaimed.

Until these new services are available though, “Nurse Deb” encourages to wash your hands, don’t touch your eyes or nose, and be conscious of where you are sneezing.
“You must sneeze and cough into your shirt. Then it’s only between you and you,” Choma said.

Sneezing into your elbow just does not cut it anymore.