H1N1 affects Tonya Simms


While a case of swine flu has yet to be confirmed at Baker University, one member of the Baker community hasn't gone unaffected.

Tonya Simms, assistant licensure officer for the School of Education, has dealt with the H1N1 virus within her own household.

"We got a call that (my 19-year-old son) had been really sick at school," she said. "We met him at the hospital in Ottawa and he was running a really high fever. They had him hooked to IVs trying to get fluids down him because he was dehydrated."

Simms' son also was experiencing respiratory problems due to asthma, which sparked the hospital to test for the virus. After lab work was done, it was confirmed that Simms' son had swine flu.

He started showing symptoms Aug. 25, but had no warnings of the flu the day before. Simms' son was then quarantined until 5 p.m. Aug. 27, which was 24 hours after his fever had passed without fever-reducing medication.

The day Simms' older son was deemed free of the swine flu, however, her 16-year-old son came down with the virus.

"When my older son got (the swine flue) he battled high fevers and extreme headaches and dizziness," she said. "Then when my younger son got it, it was more of the typical flu-like symptoms, like the body aches, lower fever, vomiting, diarrhea and other things you would see of the typical flu."

Simms' younger son's quarantine ended Aug. 29 and he had his energy back shortly after. Her older son, however, wasn't as quick to bounce back.

"It probably took my 19-year-old a good week and half before he was able to eat again," she said. "He lost 22 pounds."

Although the swine flu can be dangerous and even fatal, Simms said it's not as bad as it sounds as long as it's properly treated.

Ruth Sarna, director of student health services, said it's important to continue to take the precautions many learned as children to battle the flu season and viruses like H1N1.

"The main thing is to remember to cover your cough, and lots and lots of hand washing," she said. "Soap and water is the best, but if you don't have that handy then hand sanitizers are important ... I will also have the seasonal flu vaccine in hopefully by the end of September."

Approximately 15 to 18 Baker students have experienced influenza-like illness, which has caused some to be sent home or self-isolate themselves in their rooms.

Senior Coop Cooper was isolated in his room for four days after experiencing flu-like symptoms.

"I just hung out in my room for a little bit while I was sick," he said. "This swine flu thing is a little crazy and out of control, so they just wanted to take every precaution."


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