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Student Health Service's: All About the Flu

Posted Oct 17 2009 12:00am

How do I know if I have the flu?

The CDC defines flu symptoms as include fever (temperature of 100 degrees F [38 degrees C] or greater, or signs of fever such as chills, sweats, flushing, skin feeling hot) with cough and/or sore throat. In addition, you may experience headache, body aches, fatigue, nasal congestion, vomiting and diarrhea.

Should I see my health care provider if I have flu symptoms?

In general, unless you are experiencing difficulty breathing, chest pain, persistent vomiting, severe diarrhea or instability related to dehydration, persistent fever more than 3-4 days, or have a high-risk condition, you should stay home and use self-care measures.
High risk conditions include:
  • lung diseases like asthma, cystic fibrosis, chronic bronchitis or emphysema
  • heart disease
  • chronic kidney disease
  • metabolic diseases like diabetes
  • blood disorders like sickle cell or other severe anemia
  • a weakened immune system caused, for example, by cancer or cancer treatment, HIV/AIDS, organ transplant, or corticosteroid therapy
  • certain conditions such as nervous system or muscular disorders or seizure disorders that can cause breathing problems or increase the risk of inhaling oral secretions.
  • pregnancy

What kinds of things can I do for self-care?

  • Take acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin) for fever and body aches.
  • Over-the-counter cold and flu medications used according to the package instructions may help lessen some symptoms.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Drink clear fluids (water, broth, sports drinks) to keep from getting dehydrated.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, or cough into your elbow if a tissue is not available.
  • Clean hands often and especially after using tissues, or coughing into hands.
  • Avoid close contact with others; do not go to work or school while ill.
  • Stay home for 24 hours after your fever is gone (and you are no longer taking antifever medication)
  • If you must leave your home, wear a face mask.
  • Get Well kits will be available at Student Health, Res Life and college Place & Markets. The kits contain a digital thermometer, acetaminophen (Tylenol), cough syrup, lozenges, tissues, hand sanitizer, and a face mask.
  • For meal delivery while sick or to get a "Flu Buddy", e-mail

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