#DolphinsLiveWell: What About the Flu?
February 15, 2017
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The New York State Department of Health recently reported that the increase in cases of the flu in New York State has spiked significantly. Whether you have had the flu shot or not, you want to protect yourself from being part of next week’s statistic. Having the flu can cause you to miss class, get behind in your academics and lose out on major social events; nevermind feeling horrible for at least a week!
First of all, what is the flu? “Flu” is a respiratory infection caused by viruses. It occurs most commonly in the late fall and winter. It is highly contagious and is spread by inhaling an airborne virus caused by a person coughing or sneezing near you. This puts college students at an even higher risk because of how closely everyone lives in the residence halls.
Here are some answers to the most common Flu questions:
Do I have a Cold or the Flu?
Illness from the flu generally occurs one to three days after exposure. The onset is very sudden and symptoms include fever and chills, muscle and joint pain, dry cough, headache, eye pain, tiredness and weakness. Occasionally a sore throat and stuffy nose will be present. A cold rarely produces a fever; aches and pains may be present but slight, and the overall symptoms are not as severe.
Should I call my doctor or come into the Health Office?
If you feel seriously ill, you should always see a medical professional. Only they will be able to tell you if you have a condition that needs to be treated, or if rest and fluids will help you get better. If you have chronic health problems (i.e. diabetes, asthma, etc.) you should see your doctor. Sometimes, you can have other illnesses along with the flu––such as bronchitis, strep throat, etc.––and so you should be treated for those illnesses as well. Please report to the Health Office or your doctor if you are coughing thick, discolored or bloody mucus, or you have such symptoms as recurring fever, chest pain, facial swelling, severe pain in the face or an earache.
What do I do if I have the flu?
The best thing you can do is rest. Drink plenty of fluids and sleep if you can. The flu is a virus and while there are over the counter medications you can take to relieve the symptoms, the flu is caused by a virus and needs to run its course. The next best thing is to avoid contact with others. We know some of you don’t want to miss class or an event, but if you are contagious, you put others at risk. Just lay low and take care of yourself!
What can I do to avoid getting the flu?
Keep your distance, if possible, from sick people since the virus spreads when a person coughs or sneezes. Wash your hands frequently to reduce your risk of catching a cold or flu. Avoid secondhand smoke, and if you smoke, quit. Try to maintain a healthy lifestyle to keep your immune system strong–– eat a good diet, get enough sleep, drink lots of water and try to keep you stress level low!
Health Services office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call (315) 445-4400 for an appointment or if you have questions. Walk-ins are welcome on a first come, first serve basis. If you need medical attention after hours, contact Five Star Urgent Care at (315) 350-3305. They are open Monday through Sunday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and are located at 6870 E. Genesee St., Fayetteville, NY 13066.