This Merrimack College flu kit was provided by the school’s health service center, Hamel Health. They were assembled every year in the fall in preparation for the upcoming cold and flu season. The above kit includes one surgical mask, three alcohol wipes, and two pamphlets with information and tips on what a student should do if they catch the flu on campus. Other kits in the past have had a thermometer so students could check for a fever. They were located in the Hamel Health waiting room for students to take for no charge.
At the beginning of 2020, students began hearing about the rising cases of COVID-19 globally and there was a high demand for these flu kits because they contained disinfecting wipes and a mask. Masks at the time were not recommended by the CDC but were a valuable piece of protection against a mysterious respiratory illness. Hamel Health ran out of flu kits quickly and had to turn down students that were searching for a mask.
This particular flu kit was said to be the last kit on the entire campus. It was given to a student at the Student Wellness Offices, which oversees Hamel Health, inside the Sakowich Campus Center. It was never opened, but it serves as an eerie reminder of what standard protection against an infectious disease used to be like prior to COVID-19. Today, there are more flu kits available, but are only given in extreme circumstances by staff and not in the waiting rooms anymore.
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