This is a respiratory illness with symptoms including: fever greater than 100 degrees, headache, fatigue, sore throat, cough, runny or congested nose, and body aches. In some individuals, diarrhea and vomiting may also occur.
How the Flu Spreads:
The flu spreads in respiratory droplets when people who are infected cough or sneeze. The flu virus can live for up to 8 hours on surfaces and can also be spread by touching surfaces with influenza virus on it and then touching eyes, nose, or mouth. Individuals are contagious for 1 day prior to the development of symptoms and up to 24 hours after fever has resolved.
Steps to help prevent the spread of the flu:
Wash your hands frequently, cover your coughs and sneezes, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, and don't share food, drink, or utensils. If you live with other students, frequently clean commonly used surfaces such as doorknobs, keyboards, and bathroom areas. Try to avoid close contact with sick people. If you are ill with flu like symptoms, stay home until 24 hours after your fever is gone. Eat well, get enough sleep, and exercise regularly!
Vaccination: Getting vaccinated is one of the best ways to protect yourself against the flu. The vaccine is available at the Student Health Center. There is no charge for the vaccine.
Prescription antiviral medications are available and can be helpful in certain circumstances. These medications are not a cure for the flu, but can help lessen the severity of the symptoms.
Many people with the flu will not need to seek a doctor's care. Self care with fluids, rest, Tylenol or ibuprofen (no aspirin) may be all that is needed. Faculty, staff, or students who are ill with the flu should stay home (or in their dorm room) for 24 hours after they are fever free without the use of fever reducing medications. A mild cough may persist; however, the cough should not prevent students from returning to class. Pregnant women, young children, and those with diabetes, asthma, heart disease, or immune deficiencies with flu like symptoms should consult a physician or the Student Health Center. Anyone having symptoms such as difficulty breathing, chest or abdominal pain, sudden dizziness, confusion, or severe or persistent vomiting should seek immediate care.
More Information: More information about the flu is available at the following website
Colds are contagious, but usually minor infections of the mucous membranes of the nose, sinuses, and throat. Colds can be caused by many different viruses. Influenza (i.e. the Flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses infecting the nose, throat, and lungs. The flu can cause mild to severe illness, where as a cold can be considered mild and nonlife threatening.
Signs and Symptoms
- Symptoms of a cold and the flu have some commonalities but it is important to know the differences and when to be seen by a doctor
- Symptoms of a cold include runny nose, head congestion, sneezing, sore throat, cough, and the occasional low grade fever
- Symptoms of the flu include fever or chills, cough, sore throat, runny/stuffy nose, muscle aches, headaches, fatigue (feeling very tired), and occasionally vomiting and diarrhea
- Preventing a cold can often be difficult in dense living situations but the following precautions can help to reduce your risk - wash hands often with soap and water, keep hands away from nose and mouth, reduce stress levels, get adequate rest and exercise, and stop smoking (smoking lowers resistance to all respiratory infections)
- Receiving a flu vaccine each year can help prevent the Flu. Additionally, preventative actions are recommended to reduce risk, such as frequent hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying away from people who are sick.
- If you have a cold, the best form of treatment is managing symptoms until your body's own immune system eliminates the virus. Antibiotic medications do not cure viral infections like a cold but there are treatment options to get through your cold
- Cold and Flu: drink extra liquids (water especially), allow proper rest time to decrease the length of your cold, cough drops can help soothe a sore throat and reduce coughing, and avoid smoking, caffeine, and alcohol. Some over the counter medications can assist in relieving your cold such as a decongestant for a stuffy nose, and ibuprofen or acetaminophen for body aches, headache, and fever.
- Flu: When managing symptoms at home, the treatment options for a cold can also be used to manage the flu. Be sure to visit your provider if flu symptoms persist (fever over 101F, nausea, vomiting, and severe body aches). Influenza antiviral drugs that can be used to treat flu illness when appropriate.