Humboldt Hack attacks HSU

By Monica Carranza
Flapjack Chronicle
Students attending Humboldt State University are at high risk for developing chronic coughs. There are numerous accounts of students who have seen their coughs progress into more serious conditions, like bronchitis or asthma. Janette Ramirez, a sophomore at HSU, says her cough evolved into exercise induced asthma throughout the course of her first year.
“I got sick when I first came up, just a common cold and coughing,” she says. “But I got over the cold and the cough stuck for the rest of the year. It was so bad that I would have to excuse myself from class so that I wouldn’t disrupt everyone. I was very self conscious about it.”
Ramirez’s cough has been diagnosed as exercise induced asthma. She now has trouble walking far distances without her inhaler.
“The inhaler really helps,” she says. “I couldn’t exercise before, I would start wheezing just by walking up the stairs.”
Ian Harris, a freshman here at HSU, has had a similar experience. Harris says his cough too started out harmlessly and progressed into something much more serious.
“It started off like a tickle in the back of my throat, but then I started having cough attacks and that constant feeling like I needed to cough,” he says. “At one point, I was coughing up blood and mucus, it was coming from my lungs. After a while it was so intense that my chest was sore. I even had a bruised rib cage from the strain. I was miserable. ”
Harris’s condition seems to have been a lot more severe, despite the fact that he monitored the cough well by attending doctor’s appointments. He has been diagnosed with bronchitis, although the it is not yet known what caused it.
“Now, I pay attention to my breathing and the signs,” says Harris. “Like the tickle in the back of my throat, it’s different than a normal cough or cold. It’s a cough you can’t suppress, and it gets worse if you try to. It got really severe at one point, I’d be wheezing it out, not breathing out.”
Director of Student Health Services Mary Grooms VanCott explains that coughs are often caused by smoking and environmental factors.
“Chronic coughs are predominantly a result of smoking, as well as being exposed to an irritant such as pollen or other allergenic, though in some cities environmental surroundings can make a difference,” says VanCott.
HSU campus is one the most lavishly forested campuses in the state. It is not surprising that students who come from urban hometowns would have some sort of reaction to the change of environment. One should also note that smoking increases the chances of developing a chronic cough. Health experts say students should refrain from doing so in order to avoid these serious and costly medical issues.
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