By Jake Fain
Paul Mayer, family nurse practitioner and director of health services, has already treated 15 cases of influenza and at least as many cases of stomach virus this semester, in addition to ear infections, sinus infections, mononucleosis and a number of skin infections.
He said the simplest way to avoid getting sick is by hand washing.
“Washing one’s hands is one of the best ways to keep from spreading viruses to oneself and others,” Mayer said. “It’s 90 percent of the battle, really.”
Mayer said he sees at least two to three cases of mononucleosis and streptococcus a week during fall and winter.
Skin infections also have become common on campus, and it is very important to catch them early on, Mayer said.
“These students have been coming in thinking they’ve been bitten by a spider,” Mayer said. “But it’s really an infectious skin disease that can result in a very painful sore.”
He also has treated students for depression.
Mayer said students often complain of aches and pains and inexplicable stomach problems. Often, the real cause of these symptoms is determined to be anxiety and depression, he said.
The condition may be brought on by social pressures, stress and Seasonal Affective Disorder, a condition prevalent during months with little sunlight.
“I always want to encourage students to seek help for their problems that are more than physical,” Mayer said, “We have a great relationship with the counseling center, and it’s a great resource for students.”
Mayer also encourages students to get a flu shot.
“So many people think that they can get the flu from getting the flu shot,” Mayer said, “That is totally not true. There is a zero percent chance that you will get the flu from the shot.”