Boynton aims to combatsickness with free flu packs

Health advocates said stress and living in close quarters adds to students’ illnesses.

Naomi Scott

As temperatures outside get chillier, many students are seeing their own temperatures rise.

To aid sick students and prevent viruses from spreading, Boynton Health Service has compiled more than 20,000 flu kits to be distributed for free on campus.

The packs include hand sanitizers, cough drops, tea bags, tissues, chicken soup and brochures on how to prevent illness.

The number of people seeking appointments at Boynton to aid their sniffles and other ailments explodes at midsemester of every year, said Val Miller, a Boynton nurse practitioner.

As a health advocate in Pioneer Hall, Meghan Stelzig often helps and informs sick students about how to get better.

So many students have been sick recently that she said she ran out of cough syrup and is running low on Sudafed and cough drops.

“Everybody seems to have a cold right now,” Stelzig said.

Boynton officials put together the flu packs because they wanted to combat sickness and didn’t have many resources to give flu vaccinations this year, said Dave Dorman, Boynton health educator.

Nicole Nelson, a senior health advocate and community adviser in Bailey Hall, is in charge of medical supplies for all health advocates. She said a lot of Sudafed has been handed out in the last two weeks and predicted a wave of ill students will continue until the semester is over.

“When people get stressed out, their immune system goes down,” Nelson said.

Miller said that when a student gets sick, his or her body is telling him or her to slow down. She recommends sleeping more, limiting extra activities, eating well and not skipping meals.

Miller said that a lot of students get sick because of stress. She said people need to learn how to manage stress in a healthy way.

Stelzig said more students in the residence halls get sick this time of year because they live in close quarters and the weather is colder.

“If your roommate’s sick, you’re sick,” Stelzig said.

Boynton officials and campus health advocates will hand out the free kits during clinic hours and in residence halls.

“They’re a good resource,” said Alissa Karges, a health advocate living in Sanford Hall, “especially because they had so few flu vaccines this year.”