The VMI Infirmary offers all the services usually found at a private doctor's office in addition to needs specific to VMI. The VMI Infirmary is open and staffed by a nurse 24 hours a day, seven days a week throughout the regular academic year.
There are 18 inpatient beds for overnight observation and isolation for those cadets who cannot comfortably or safely stay in barracks. Cadets with more severe illnesses are referred to the local hospital or a specialist for care.
There is no extra charge to visit the infirmary or see the nurse or doctor. Many medications are dispensed at no charge. Lab tests ordered or appointments off Post will be the responsibility of the cadet.
The winter flu season has arrived at VMI and is causing seasonal illness among cadets. We have 3 cases of Influenza A, and many more cadets with “influenza-like illness” (ILI). ILI is a diagnosis that may be the real flu or could be caused by other viruses that cause similar illnesses. We treat all cadets who come in with high fever, cough, and body aches as if they have the flu. So far, all the cadets are improving over 3-5 days. This year the winter flu coincided with breakout for the Rats, so they are particularly vulnerable. However, we have had illnesses in all the classes of cadets, not just Fourth Classmen.
We are fortunate that more than half the cadets received the flu shot this year. Although the flu shot does not prevent all flu, it helps reduce the spread and can decrease the intensity and duration of the illness.
The flu-like illnesses are coinciding with the usual seasonal sicknesses which may be mild cold and congestion symptoms or stomach viruses. These resolve more quickly than ILI. The best advice for cadets is to get as much sleep as they can, wash their hands frequently, and “cover the cough” which means coughing into the sleeve, not out into the room. Cough droplets carry about 6 feet, and they contribute to the spread of illness.