H1N1 hype on campus - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

H1N1 hype on campus


MADISON (WKOW) -- The H1N1 virus continued its spread across college campuses nationwide Wednesday, but here in Madison, the University of Wisconsin says there's no need to panic.

H1N1 is so widespread that doctors both here in Madison and nationwide say if you have any flu-like symptoms it's safe to say you have some form of the virus.

When UW-Madison student Mike Swanson woke up one morning last week, he knew something was wrong. He had chills, a fever and a sore throat.

A few of his friends had the H1N1 virus, and apparently it was his turn. But even though Swanson was sick, he said it wasn't a big deal.

"I didn't go to the doctor or anything," said Swanson. "I just kind of slept and was over it in three days, and that was it."

Swanson isn't the only student who's not seeing the doctor, which makes it tough for health officials to know just how many students have the virus.

"We are trying to count [the cases]," said Dr. Sarah Van Orman, "but we certainly know we aren't going to be able to count every case."

Van Orman is a doctor at the university's health services center. She says so many students have come in with flu-like symptoms over the last two weeks that the university isn't even testing them anymore; they're just assuming it's H1N1.

More and more students are coming down with the virus every day, and it's so contagious students think the spread is inevitable.

"I feel like pretty much everyone at some point is gonna get it on campus," said Swanson. "My roommate stayed here and tried really hard not to get it. He washed his hands and everything but he still got it, which really goes to show how contagious this thing really is."

As contagious as it is, doctors say for most people, it's not life-threatening.

"For the majority of students and people, this is a self-limiting illness that will recover well with self-care and time," said Van Orman.

As far as students are concerned, they're acting like it's no big deal.

"I think it's been played up," said Kelly Lykke, another student at UW-Madison who is recovering from the H1N1 virus. "It wasn't that bad having it. I didn't want to spread it to anyone but I don't know anyone who's had severe complications."

Still, doctors say anyone with preexisting health conditions should see a doctor right away if they feel like the may have the virus. Also, anyone who experiences flu-like symptoms for longer than three days should be checked out, before the virus takes a turn for the worst.

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