Stay Healthy During This Year's Flu Epidemic

February 13, 2018

The United States is experiencing a flu epidemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Influenza H3n2 has been the most common strain this season and it is usually more severe.

What is Influenza (the flu)?

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.

The CDC continues to recommend that unvaccinated people get vaccinated. While some of the viruses spreading this season are different from those in the vaccine, vaccination can still provide protection and might reduce severe outcomes such as hospitalization and death.

Experts believe flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze, or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Infrequently, a person might also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, eyes, or nose.

What are the symptoms?

  • Fever (usually high)
  • Headache
  • Tiredness (can be extreme)
  • Dry cough
  • Sore throat
  • Nasal congestion
  • Body aches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea and vomiting (more common among children than adults)

When should you seek treatment?

We encourage each of you to seek treatment if and when you become symptomatic. Don't delay in being seen by your local provider as antiviral medications may be prescribed if diagnosed early enough. Taking time for your own personal wellness is important and encouraged.

If you are experiencing symptoms

We ask you to stay home until your physician has cleared you to return to work. Should your illness last for three or more days, please provide a return to work authorization from your doctor to the Dean's office or HR.

Tips from the CDC for minimizing exposure

  •  Stay away from sick people and stay home if sick.
  •  Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  •  Don't share linens, eating utensils, and dishes belonging to those who are sick without washing thoroughly first. Eating utensils can be washed either in a dishwasher or by hand with water and soap and do not need to be cleaned separately.
  •  Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work, and school, especially if someone is ill.

The CDC has information about the flu and this year's flu season.

Please feel free to reach out to Student Health and Counseling Services (SHACS) for any additional questions or concerns.