Photo by Taylor Freetage

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The months of January and February are commonly known as “flu season,” and based on the the percentage of sick students on campus, these months have lived up to their name.

According to statistics from the Tarrant County Health Department, this year’s flu has been particularly hard on five through 24-year-olds.

Influenza like illnesses per age gorup

“Although TCU does not report flu statistic specific to campus, the campus does participate in the Flu surveillance project with Tarrant County and the State of Texas,” said Kelle Tillman, associate director of the Brown Lupton Health Center.

Flu season typically starts in October and peaks in February, a time when the semester starts to pick up and healthy habits become scarce.

“Midterms are stressful for a lot of people and as a college student it’s hard to balance tests and projects with getting enough sleep and taking care of yourself,” said Junior writing major, Mason Ledonne.

According to Tarrant County Public Health, the first week of February showed a spike in reported influenza-like illnesses from 3.59 percent to 5.02 percent, which is higher than the Tarrant county baseline of 3.89 percent.

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The following week (Feb. 4. through Feb. 11.) increased to 5.47  percent, especially for those between the ages of five and 24.

According to the graph from the Tarrant County Division of Epidemiology and Health information, the Texas state line for influenza like illnesses is 7 percent, making the second week in February the closest it’s been to the state baseline this year.

Tillman said that although there has been an increase in influenza like illnesses on campus, there is not a specific percentage of students who have reported missing class due to the sickness.

While sickness has been spreading on campus, so has a rumor about a class cancellation policy if too many students get sick at one time. Tillman said the rumor around campus that classes will be cancelled for 48 hours if 20 percent of students get sick is not true, and that TCU does not have a policy regarding the issue.

“If a significant number of the student population is sick, we would consult with the Tarrant County Health Department and follow their advice and directions regarding any communicable diseases,” said Tillman.

Although there is no one reason that causes the flu, Tillman said students should be doing all they can to be preventative by getting vaccinated against the flu, getting plenty of rest, practicing good hand washing, and not drinking out of shared containers.

The TCU Health Center offers free flu shots that are available to all students until June 1.