Winter chills may cause ‘twindemic’

With the changing of the seasons comes the joy of the holidays and upcoming breaks. 

But lingering in the background is the increase of illnesses in our population, especially in groups such as school-aged children. 

Illnesses that commonly spike in the winter and fall include the flu, colds and other respiratory illnesses and, due to the latest pandemic, Covid has also been added to the mix. This could make for an interesting winter at Kirkwood Community College.  

The biggest concern for this coming winter is the “twindemic,” according to Kirkwood’s Dean of Nursing Dr. Kathryn Dolter. The twindemic has been described by many sources as the possibility of a severe flu season playing out alongside an increase in Covid cases.   

This looming possibility has created many concerns. “It’s predicted to be a worse flu season. The pandemic is not over,” Dolter warned, “It’s going to hit us hard starting the end of October through the end of March.”  

In regard to previous winters, Dolter said, “Everyone just marched on and ignored their illnesses. 

Our western culture is like every man for themselves, we don’t think of others as much as we should.” This way of life left many people ill and elevated levels of loss from illnesses like the flu. The ideal of “marching on” has dampened down some in the recent years due to Covid.   

There are ways to prevent the loss of class time from illnesses like covid and flu this winter season. “Stay home when you’re sick,” Dolter stated, “Wash your hands, get vaccinated and wear a mask.”  

She added that many have gone back to what is referred to as “pre-pandemic” life by neglecting mask-wearing altogether. This could be possibly troublesome once the colder weather sets in. Without masks, she said we could see a drastic change in Kirkwood’s health as a whole. “Why would you want to get what everyone else has? Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Get your vaccines. Stay at home if you’re sick,” Dolter said.

Tips for staying healthy this winter

  • Wash hands often
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Maintain a balanced diet 
  • Wear a face mask when ill
  • Stay hydrated
  • Stay home when sick
  • Stay up to date on preventive vaccines

For medical services through student health MercyCare Prairie Creek clinic, call 319-558-0342 to set up an appointment.

Categories: Feature