There’s a norovirus going around my region right now.  It hit just in time to come back with the kids from winter break.  And it’s going around my school.  1/3 of the students I supervise have had it in the last week.  Every day, I get at least two cancellations (usually in the form of “no shows” then info later) on the services I provide due to the puking-pooping horror that is this intestinal bug.

And they have no idea what this is.  I mean the kids have none.  One of them said to me yesterday “Well, I’m still not feeling good.  Still having diarrhea” (he’s a bit of an over-discloser) “but I figured I can work with Sandy because she’s on a ton of antibiotics.”

Now, Sandy had a tooth abscess last week because she didn’t take the antibiotics her dentist ordered for her when she saw him the week before for a cracked tooth.  One trip to the ED later, she is now on antibiotics.  “The stomach bug that’s going around is viral” I tell the over-discloser.  “She can catch a norovirus while she’s on antibiotics.”

This is ridiculous.  They make these kids take health classes, where they talk about sex, sexuality, sexual development, alcohol and substance use, and various other associated “hot button” topics.   They do not, apparently, talk about stuff like “hand sanitizer is all well and good but there’s no substitute for washing your hands” or “if you start an antibiotic you finish and antibiotic” or the difference between viral and bacterial infections (e.g., “you don’t need antibiotics for the flu or a cold”).  I think they should.  How much nicer would it be for ye olde primary care/family doc if people were getting a good dose of education about simple stuff like this?

What I keep wondering is why our health services hasn’t sent out an announcement about the virus.  Even months after the original H1N1 outbreak, when they knew it wasn’t likely to be as bad as it had seemed initially (or as it had been hyped, take your pick), we were inundated with weekly emails about it, a list was started for staff or faculty to report students with “flu like symptoms” (which we still have, btw), and we were all encouraged to stay home until we were symptom free for at least 24 hours.  But here we are with a quite aggressive intestinal virus zipping through the dorms and classes and the school is mute.  Kinda confirms my theory that college health services are about equivalent to a first aid tent staffed by boy scouts at a town fair (my own experience with them comes from both being a student at three different schools and from working at one as an undergrad).

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  1. Viruses! I hate it when parents send their kids to scool…especially the little. Puking or pooping in school in school is humiliating. Keep those kids home! But adults go to to work when they are way too sick too. sheesh!

  2. I’m told it’s a horror show in our dorms right now.

  3. queenofoptimism

     /  May 12, 2012

    Good points – this problem never made the community health reminders this season. Especially at large institutions. Wtf. Glad it’s over. Yauck.


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