H1N1 Fears Averted at Towson University
By Omari Richards
TU Journalism | Oct. 15, 2009
Despite the large amount of media and political attention surrounding the H1N1 virus, students at Towson University remain comfortable and at ease.
Between several precautions the university has made, everyday hygiene, and general awareness, students feel that there’s nothing fear from the hyped up virus.
“I don’t really think it’s that big of a deal,” said sophomore Emilia Horn. “It’s just a regular flu, people just aren’t taking care of themselves as well as they should.”
Towson University however has still taken several precautions against the virus, including a large amounts of hand sanitizers in high traffic areas such as the dinning halls and the gymnasium.
“I think the university is doing good job of keeping people aware,” said student Allison Brown. “Placing hand sanitizers everywhere is a good idea because it’s good reminder to be more conscious of your interactions.”
Towson University also sent out a campus wide e-mail at the beginning of the semester giving students general information about the H1N1 virus, and a warning not to attend class should they come down with any flu-like symptoms. The e-mail was reinforced with a handout every professor gave to their students at the beginning of each class.
“It’s our goal to keep everyone informed about the virus,” said Trudy Woods of the Towson Health Center. “But at the same time we don’t want to cause a panic or be too intrusive. The e-mail was sent near the end of the summer as an initial warning. Then the handout was just to make sure the students and professors got the message. And so far it seems that they have.”
The H1N1 was first detected in the United States in April 2009. Ever since it has been the subject of many speeches, panel discussions, debate, and hype by the news media and government. As such many myths and misconceptions exist about the virus, causing unnecessary panic and fear.
“You can’t get Swine Flu from eating pork,” Woods said. “That’s a question I get all the time. We’ve taken great steps to make sure that students and professors have the very least, a general knowledge about the virus. And hopefully with that knowledge they will be able to calm their more panicked peers.”
The name Swine Flu comes from laboratory testing that showed the genes in the virus similar to flu that normally occurs in pigs (swine). But studies has shown that the H1N1 is different from flu that occurs in pigs.
“Believe it or not, normal flu is still deadlier and more widespread than H1N1,” Wood said. “So when watching out for H1N1, just remember to keep an eye out for the one we’re all familiar with.”