Butler University taking precautions against the flu

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The flu is a big concern on college campuses including Butler University.

Students returned from winter break Monday, well aware of the university's efforts to keep them free of the flu.

Brad Weinstein said he's seen "all of posters talking about washing hands, keeping healthy, drinking a lot of orange juice and getting Vitamin C."

Following an afternoon workout, Stephanie Klingenmeier was quick to use one of the hand sanitizers that popped up inside the health and recreation center.

"Everyone in class is coughing. It's so gross, so I wanted to be proactive and make sure I don't get sick," she said.

Like other schools, Butler is encouraging preventive measures, especially given that the vast majority of students live on campus.

Julie Howerton, the director of Health Services, said, "We're higher risk in a sense because we're so residential and the students live in close quarters. The nice weather today was good. I saw a lot of open windows this morning. But I know next week it's going to be cold and that makes me a little nervous. I like the open windows."

She said so far, Butler has confirmed four cases of the type one flu, but they have seen a number of students coming in with flu-like symptoms, "respiratory coughs, colds, sore throats. They're tired, but that's not all that unusual on a college campus."

Students with the flu or flu-like symptoms leave with flu kits. They include tickets so trays of food can be brought to them, masks to cover their mouths, disposable thermometers, hand cleaner and Tylenol or other pain relievers.

"And if it's appropriate, we have Tamiflu on hand to alleviate symptoms," Howerton said.

Several students like Annie Mushrush have also gone to the health center for flu shots.

"I'm in the dance department and we spend all day together in a small space and some people have been getting sick, so I want to be preventative," she said.

Butler began offering flu shots before the holidays. Howerton said so far, they've vaccinated nearly 1,300 faculty, staff and students. She noted as of Thursday, no one has been hospitalized because of the flu.