Stop reading Wesleying and go wash your hands.
Last week the health center casually let us know that gastroenteritis (aka “stomach flu” aka “living hell in your bowels”) was making its rounds around Boston campuses and local healthcare facilities. A few cases had popped up at Wesleyan. No biggie. Don’t panic. Just a heads up. Wash your hands a lot. Also, transmission is “fecal-oral.” Maybe lay off eating poop for a few weeks.
This week, shit gets real. (Literally.) (Eww.)
According to the latest all-campus, the party really got going last night, when the health center began bustling with students reporting Norovirus symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, and so on). On the bright side, the investigation is well underway: “The University will be increasing cleaning of bathrooms in dorms with high numbers of cases, collecting data about cases to identify patterns and conducting other interventions as appropriate.”
You can read Medical Director Davis Smith’s extensive posting here, but the basic (and hopefully obvious) advice is to. . .
- Wash your hands. A lot. With soap and water. (A lot of it.)
- Also, “avoid communal foods that others may have directly touched.” Which, loosely translated, means stay the hell away from Usdan, WesWings, Summerfields, Star & Crescent, or Red & Black. Good luck with that.
- If you’re sick, stay in your room. If you’re sick and not in your room right now, correct that.
- If you’re vomiting, wait at least two hours before trying to eat or drink anything. It will only make things worse.
- If your symptoms are particularly miserable, call the health center at (860) 685-2470.
All of campus is at risk, but I have it on good authority things are especially contaminated over in Hewitt. What follows is an exclusive interview from one Anonymous Gastro Victim ’14, who optimistically describes the illness as “actually kind of nice” and a good time “to catch up with hallmates as they vom next to you in the bathroom.”
What’s up with Hewitt?
Hewitt is completely contaminated, don’t go near here. We’re all completely fine and whatever, but the internet is telling us we’re contagious for 72 hours so we’ve been sticking close to our quarantined room. We went on a Weshop run, but I made everyone wear gloves.
What’s it like to have Gastro?
Well, there’s a lot of variations , and it really wasn’t bad for me at all. Me and one of my friends barely got sick. But another of my friends ended up going to the hospital because she almost passed out on the floor of the bathroom.
How have you been coping with it?
I just chilled with my plastic bags that I didn’t even end up using, played a lot of Wilco, slept, and read books. It was actually kind of nice, to be honest. I probably got sick from sharing food with my friends, who all got sick at nearly exactly the same time as me.
Um… do not eat or drink anything until hours after you stop barfing. It’ll go faster.
I say relax, let it happen. It’s inevitable. Use it as an opportunity to catch up on pleasure reading, or movies, or even catching up with your hallmates as they vom next to you in your hall bathroom. Stay cheerful!
As a side note, I actually did try to catch up with my hallmates, but no one was having my stream of cheerful chatter about their abroad program.
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FULL ALL-CAMPUS UPDATE FROM MEDICAL DIRECTOR DAVIS SMITH:
We saw a dramatic spike in cases of vomiting and diarrhea (gastroenteritis) beginning last night. Typical symptoms include: nausea, stomach cramping, vomiting and diarrhea. A few students have had lightheadedness and one fainted. Some also have headache, body aches and fever.
These cases of gastroenteritis are very likely caused by a virus, probably Norovirus. Please review this posting at www.wesleyan.edu/healthservices/ofnote/Forms/Gastroenteritis.pdf for detailed information. As is typical, the vomiting phase usually lasts 6-8 hours.
Representatives from the Student Affairs, Food Services, Public Safety and Residential Life met this morning to review the outbreak and plan response and the Connecticut Department of Public Health has been consulted. No specific source or origin of the outbreak has been identified. The University will be increasing cleaning of bathrooms in dorms with high numbers of cases, collecting data about cases to identify patterns and conducting other interventions as appropriate.
Wash your hands with soap and water before touching anything that will go in your mouth.
Avoid communal foods that others may have directly touched.
Stay in bed and minimize your exposure to others.
DO NOT attempt to eat or drink anything for at least two hours after you last vomited, it will only make your symptoms worse and prolong your vomiting.
If vomiting is very heavy or lasting more than a few hours, a medication can be prescribed which is usually quite effective in treating nausea and vomiting. Call the health center or doctor on call (860) 685-2470.
As of Wednesday February 8, 2012 we will have this medication at the Health Center.
After hours, this medication will need to be picked up (by a friend) at a pharmacy in town.
If your symptoms are extreme, especially if you are faint on standing, call the health center or doctor on call (860) 685-2470. You may need referral to the Emergency Department.
P. Davis Smith MD