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Old diseases reappear on college campuses

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This cold and flu season, many college students will have serious diseases to worry about, according to health officials. Whooping cough and pink eye have become this year’s unwanted visitors for many colleges across the country.

“Whooping cough is a very serious illness and should be taken care of immediately. It is also very contagious and being in close quarters makes it easy to contract,” said Katie Rauh, a nurse at Dominican’s Wellness Center.

Recent studies show that adults and adolescents need a booster vaccination to help fight the disease. This vaccine is called a tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis), which the Wellness Center is offering for $50.

Pertussis, more commonly known as whooping cough, is an upper respiratory infection that causes severe coughing episodes, according to the U.S National Library of Medicine. These episodes can break ribs, induce vomiting, or cause a loss of consciousness.

Whooping cough has been spreading around the state with a confirmed 1,019 cases as of Dec. 1. The number of cases is down since last year but the disease has been spreading closer to Dominican this year with confirmed cases as close as Park Ridge-Niles District 64 as of Dec. 12, according to a TribLocal article.

Pink eye, another disease notorious at colleges, is going around this year as well. “Pink eye is extremely easy to contract and spread and is very uncomfortable. Do not share towels, pillows and other items that will touch your face with people to lower your chances of catching it,” Rauh said. She also suggests getting antibiotics from the Wellness Center to relieve the symptoms if having contracted the disease. Several students at Dominican caught the disease as recently as
last year. Sufferers of pink eye, the viral form of conjunctivitis, may experience blurred vision, itching of the eyes and sensitivity to light in addition to the redness that gives the disease its name, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

– Joshua Hoeg, Contributing Writer

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