Oregon State University's student-run lifestyle magazine

Beaver's Digest

Oregon State University's student-run lifestyle magazine

Beaver's Digest

Oregon State University's student-run lifestyle magazine

Beaver's Digest

Latest issue

Frat Flu: Why students are getting sick in the fall

Maya Kirschenbaum
Finn Hoefer stands masked outside the new Oregon State Health Center on campus on Oct 17, 2022.

The phenomenon of college students getting sick when returning to school in the fall is nothing new. 

The mysterious sickness taking over college towns has been dubbed the “Frat Flu” by college students across the country. 

According to Miguel Llamas, a fourth-year with majors in business administration and apparel who is currently in the rush process for a fraternity, people sharing drinks and going to big events are some suspected causes of the so-called frat flu.

“I feel it has affected the reputation of fraternities in a bad way,“ Llamas said. “A lot of people are always just kind of blaming it on the frat flu when it could be a lot of other things.” 

But what is it actually?

According to Helen Lee, Director of Clinical Services at Student Health Services, getting sick at the start of school is very common,

“As students and staff are back on campus in larger numbers, we have started to see students with cold and flu-like symptoms. As the weather changes, school starts, and groups begin gathering more indoors, we will likely see more of this,” wrote Lee in an email.

Lee encourages students to do their part in creating a healthier community at OSU. She recommends getting vaccinated to stop the spread of the flu. 

“Getting vaccinated is a great step to reduce your risk of serious complications and to help minimize the spread of flu in the community. It is still important to focus on other preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs,” Lee said.

To get a flu shot you can visit your local pharmacy or schedule an appointment at the Health Center Lee said.

Some of the other methods of prevention include washing hands with soap and water, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. As well as covering your coughs and sneezes, and staying home if you are sick. 

As for students who are sick, there are resources on campus for students through student health services. 

Student Health Services offers same-day appointments for acute illnesses like colds with flu-like symptoms. 

“If you have questions or are unsure if you need to be seen, you can call or send a message in your patient portal to speak with one of our nurses,” Lee said.

You can make an appointment through the patient portal at myhealth.oregonstate.edu, or by calling Student Health at 541-737-9355.


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