Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Law School Flu Season is here!

Excuse me if this post is a little loopy--law school flu season is here.  Law school flu season doesn't follow the same trajectory as the traditional flu season. In my experience, it is bimodal, and peaks in December and April/May, right around exam time.  I caught it early; my students don't start exams until next week. I expect to hear about fevers, chills, and stuffiness from my student right after they finish their last exam.  For 1L's, it feels strange to get so sick at this time of the year.  It coincides with allergy season on the East Coast, so they may mistake it for a fierce case of allergies.  However, allergies should not result in a fever.

Students (and professors) do no realize the toll stress takes on the body. The stress of preparing for exams, as well as creating or taking them, causes the immune system to go into overdrive. Students are living on adrenaline for the month prior to exams.  But overdrive has to stop, and after exams are over, our immune systems are beat, making us ripe for the first germs that come our way. 

While all the ordinary precautions should be taken; hand washing, hand sanitizer, keeping hydrated, overall cleanliness and hygiene, they are not enough to ward off law school flu.  Taking care of ourselves mentally and emotionally is difficult and time-consuming, so it feels like a luxury.  It's more efficient to take care of yourself now than to miss days of work with the flu.  Believe me, I know (as I type with a box of kleenex, a cup of hot tea, and theraflu at my side).

(Rebecca Flanagan)

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