VERMILLION, SD -
New national numbers released on Friday show influenza is spreading west, and it isn't slowing down in the midwest.
Living in the dorm is a rite of passage for some university students, but when germs start spreading in the close quarters, they move fast.
"Try to avoid the people that are sick as much as possible," USD student Jessica Schillerberg said.
Schillerberg is one of hundreds of students who live in Coyote Village. Recently the bug came a little too close for comfort when her roommate caught it.
"Kept her in her room, tried to help her get over it fast, then sanitized the whole room," Schillerberg said.
Dr. Roy Mortinsen with Sanford Vermillion Clinic says students in the dorms need to follow the same rules as anyone else. Be sure to wash your hands, cover coughs and sneezes, and most importantly:
"Things they can do to help prevent the spread is get the flu vaccine," Mortinsen said.
It’s not only in the dorms; students are also taking extra precaution when they head off to class.
"The school gave us hand sanitizers; I use that a lot. There is hand sanitizer all over the school. When I see it, I usually do a pump or two," USD student Ryan Lammers said.
Keeping hand sanitizer around is a good idea because you never know who touched a door knob before you. Mortinsen says germs will stick around for a lot longer than many people realize.
"The virus can live on a doorknob for up to eight hours afterwards so it is certainly something that is very contagious," Mortinsen said.
Mortinsen says if you haven't gotten the flu vaccine, don't worry, there is still time left to get it. Keep in mind it is 62 percent effective. If you've gotten the shot and you still get the flu, doctors say it can lessen the symptoms.
© 2013 KELOLAND TV. All Rights Reserved.