Let’s be Honest

Most of the folks reading this blog went to college of some sort (I’m willing to bet).

I don’t know about your school, but at my school, if you went to student health services, it was a crap shoot between actually being taken care of, or given some motrin and being sent home. Case in point, I went for swollen tonsils, got told I had mono and to take it easy (here’s your motrin) and 10 days later was in the hospital for an emergency tonsillectomy. Student fees at work!!

swineflu
So, needless to say, when I see headlines that say “2,500 students have H1N1 at a University” I question the veracity of the reporting.

An outbreak of flu at Washington State University showed few signs of slowing down as more students continued to report symptoms suspected of being from the H1N1 virus, school officials said Wednesday.

About 2,500 students have come down with possible cases of H1N1 since classes began August 24, said James Tinney, WSU director of media relations.

Not that the news folks aren’t reporting accurately *cough* but I question that the folks at student health services actually have the capability to accurately identify the difference between H1N1 symptoms, and someone having an intestinal disagreement with the dorm cafeteria food (always a quality choice. Who doesn’t love hamburgers for breakfast?) or a heavy night of, ummmm, studying.

Alas, guess I shouldn’t be surprised this is getting headway in our current hyperbole-driven media environment.

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9 Responses to Let’s be Honest

  1. Niall says:

    Diagnosis of H1N1 can only be made by testing a sample from the patient (usually a swab sample). If the school is specifically diagnosing H1N1, as opposed to just “flu”, then they’ve done this. And everyone knows colleges and universities are petri dishes of infection, particularly flu.

    Also, it’s not in their interests to advertise H1N1 on their campus, so chances are they have actually done the tests necessary to diagnose it, and are just being honest. Because if there was any doubt, I’m sure they would grasp at it like a junkie reaching for that last dime bag.

  2. fastnav says:

    I seriously doubt the health clinic at a university has the time (or funding) to conduct the testing for H1N1.

    My guess is, they’re calling anything flu-related H1N1.

  3. Niall says:

    But why? There’s nothing but downside for them to be exaggerating their exposure to H1N1. And university administrations are notoriously paranoid about their school’s public image. So it’s hard to believe they would just go make up an H1N1 epidemic.

  4. fastnav says:

    Niall, if there’s one thing America loves… it’s a falsified epidemic.

  5. Niall says:

    You may be right. It’s still strange.

  6. Oceaneer says:

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/health/2009809942_swineflu05m.html

    “Samples from the first several dozen cases were sent to the state laboratory in Shoreline and tested positive for H1N1. Public-health officials halted further tests when more probable cases came in, but Martin said odds are about 98 percent that they, too, are swine flu.”

  7. fastnav says:

    several dozen << 2,500

    I think I'll take the bet on whether it's really 98%…

  8. Niall says:

    At least they had a bunch of tests done.

  9. virgil xenophon says:

    The bureaucratic mind-set is to error on the side of caution. “Better safe than sorry” is the mantra of the day. There is only downside to under-action if things do indeed eventually go south. (Attny to witness school official: “Do you mean to tell me you took no further action when…….”)

    If a gun were put to my head I’d hazard the guess that today’s Campus Infirmary is a lot better equipped with better trained staff than in my undergraduate college days (62-66.) Just compare avg tuition between then and now. The $ got to go SOMEWHERE. I mean, just look at the gym, swimming, wt-room and rec. facilities etc.,for the general population housed in multi-million dollar structures today. Such things didn’t even EXIST for the general student pop. in my day on ANY campus save the mil academies.

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