Swine flu is at Castleton as of Monday Oct. 26 according to an e-mail Dean of Students Dennis Proulx sent to the campus. The e-mail sent some students into a frenzy and led a few to even start wearing medical masks.
“Cut the drama,” said nurse Deb Choma of the Wellness Center while relaxing at her desk with her feet up and flanked by a folder labeled H1N1.
“Do not wear those medical masks. First of all, they look hideous and then they just keep the germs you just let out in your face,” Choma said.
Choma said there has been only one confirmed case of swine flu on campus and other students are simply battling the regular flu and colds.
The only way the swine flu can be confirmed is through a medical test by a doctor, she said.
Choma suggests that students should take care of themselves while flu season is here. She suggests that students wash their hands frequently and do the “Choma cough and sneeze,” which is when you put your face in your shirt so your germs stay with you and not others.
Students should also keep their rooms clean and leave their windows open a crack to have continuous fresh air, she said. What Choma would really like to stress to students is to not stay up all night and keep away from the junk food.
Students have had mixed reactions to Proulx’s e-mail confirming swine flu is on campus.
“I thought there were like 10 cases of swine flu, but I’m not really scared of it. I just wash my hands a lot more” Kenny McIlroy said.
Caitlin Lawlor agrees.
“I think that it’s ridiculous that people are running around saying that they have swine flu when they only have the common cold they are blowing things way out of proportion and it is ticking me off,” Lawlor said clenching her teeth.
While some are not fazed by the swine flu, others are taking more precaution. The girls in Castleton Hall suite 204 have a sign on their door asking if you don’t feel healthy to please not enter their suite.
“We do it because if one person gets sick we all will,” said Kenzi McCain.
Students are also missing a lot of classes since the e-mail about swine flu went out to students.
“I’ve noticed that about a third of the students in some of my classes are missing,” said Emma Jennings, a sophomore.
The swine flu vaccine will be available to all students when it arrives at Castleton, but that date has yet to be determined. It will first be available to those with asthma, diabetes and cancer and to those who are pregnant. But Choma explain there will be enough for all who want to get vaccinated. If students do not know if they should get the vaccination, they should consult their doctor, she said.
Overall swine flu should not be seen as a large threat to Castleton, Choma said. There has not been one death from swine flu in Vermont and Castleton only has one confirmed case, she said.
“You all have already been exposed to it so you are probably not going to get it,” Choma said.