April 14, 2021
Flu season is beginning to peak, and it’s all over the news. Here’s what you need to know:
Influenza is a viral illness that usually has a sudden onset and can cause the following symptoms:
- Fever and chills*
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Some people may experience vomiting and diarrhea (though seen more commonly in young children)
*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever
Preventive actions can help stop the spread of germs and it’s important to stay considerate of others:
- Limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
- If you are sick with a flu-like illness, the Center for Disease Control recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, except to get medical care or for other necessities. Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicine.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use your sleeve to cover. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu and clean surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill.
Most people with the flu have a mild illness and do not need medical care or antiviral drugs. If you get sick with flu symptoms, in most cases, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people except to get medical care. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
Complications of the flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes. These are reasons to see your medical provider as soon as possible!
- Studies show that flu antiviral drugs (i.e., Tamiflu) work best for treatment when taken within two days of getting sick. Starting them later can still be helpful, especially if the sick person has a high-risk health condition or is very sick from the flu. Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking this drug.
- Consider getting the flu vaccine as it’s not too late. Ideally, you should get your flu shot every fall to minimize your risk of getting sick.
The Student Health Center is Here to Help
The flu vaccine is available at the Student Health Center on campus for $35 for students, faculty, and staff and no appointment is necessary. For more information, visit the Health Center online.