Should I tell flu victims to keep away?

January 21, 2000

Q Flu is wreaking havoc with attendance and even when students turn up I wonder whether they can hear my lecture amid the coughing and spluttering. Should I tell flu victims to keep away?

A I sympathise with the predicament because I caught flu at the recent Royal Geographical Society's conference at Sussex University. A few presentations were cancelled because delegates succumbed to the virus, but not as many as expected.

Most academics have to be virtually at death's door before they cancel their commitments, and they probably expect the same of their students. But perhaps we are our own worst enemies as the sensible thing would be to retire to bed gracefully.

I was lucky in having a colleague at the conference who kindly agreed to drive me and my car back to Cheltenham. Unfortunately, his reward was that he went down with the flu the next day.

Mick Healey

Professor of geography

Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education

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