By Kaylee Brennan
“The Purple Plague” (aka a small, seasonal, viral infection) has spread throughout Niagara University. Students are experiencing different symptoms such as a runny nose, coughing, earaches and body pains. Tests taken at health services everyday prove it is not the coronavirus, but simply a miserable, viral infection that disrupts students’ everyday lives.
“I feel like I’ve been sick forever,” freshman Summer Lewis said. “My body can’t seem to catch a break. Being sick at college is not ideal, because I am still stuck in the dorms. I still have to try to go to classes every day and feel like I will constantly be sick.”
Health services is “swamped” according to Janice Bradley, the nurse practitioner in the office.
“We feel bad not being able to see students the day they call but, because of the sickness going around, we have to book appointments two or three days out. We have never seen anything like this,” she said.
This time of year is stressful for students, especially when it comes to sports, clubs and, most significantly, coursework. Midterm week has come to an end and there is no doubt that students have been missing out on a full night sleep and a healthy diet. It is difficult to maintain healthy habits when school work and other commitments are the first priority for NU students. Unfortunately, healthy habits like these are the key to stopping this infection on campus.
Everyone on campus touches the same things repeatedly. From light switches and elevator buttons to toilet handles and doorknobs, germs are repeatedly being spread from one surface to another. This is why some students acquire the sickness and don’t lose their cough until two or three weeks later.
“This stuff is highly contagious and it is easy to recontaminate,” Bradley said.
She saw students who came in repeatedly without a significant change to their symptoms.
On the other hand, Bradley noticed how commuters don’t always have it for as long because they remove themselves from the highly viral environments every day. It is not as easy for people who live on campus to move on and recover from the sickness because, between classes, the dining hall and the dorms, they are exposed to the germs all day long. Bradley’s biggest advice to students is simple: wash your hands.
Washing your hands is just one of the many precautions students should take to avoid trips to health services. It is important to maintain a healthy and balanced diet that is full of the nutrients one’s body needs. When a sickness hits, “The best medicine of all is sleep,” Bradley said.
Bradley also encourages students to “wipe down their phones and change their pillowcase and toothbrush frequently. Don’t touch your face with your hands.”
She added, “Try not to exert yourself, especially if you are on antibiotics; and keep your face covered.” She said she believes good hygiene is the key to putting this viral infection to a halt.