Kent State warns students with flu symptoms to stay home as new semester approaches

KENT, Ohio - The start of the spring semester at Kent State is Monday, but the university is already warning sick students to stay away.

The school said on Friday that students with flu-like symptoms are advised not to attend class and contact their professors as soon as possible.

"We just want to make sure that our students stay healthy," said Todd Diacon, Kent State's senior vice president for academic affairs and provost in a news release. "If students have flu-like symptoms, we'd rather they stay home and get better and make up the classwork."

The Ohio Department of Health reports that Ohio is experiencing a widespread flu outbreak. There have been 1,922 influenza-related hospitalizations during this season, with one child death reported, as of Jan. 5.

"Patients are often surprised by how very ill they feel with influenza," said Dr. Angela DeJulius, Kent State's chief university physician. "Prescription antiviral medicines can sometimes help to reduce the duration of illness, but are not a cure. The flu usually lasts at least a week."

Kent State said there are a limited amount of flu vaccines available through the university's health services. DeJulius said since flu season continues into February, it is not too late to get the vaccine.

Earlier this week, a 22-year-old junior at Wright State University died after being hospitalized with flu-like symptoms.

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