Tag Archives: flu

Get Smart About Antibiotics

ECU Student Health Services (SHS) is supporting Get Smart About Antibiotics Week, November 14-20, by sharing education and social media messages about when antibiotics are indicated, how to take them correctly, and why overuse contributes negatively to our health.  SHS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) want you to know why antibiotics are not always the answer and why SHS providers are so careful about only prescribing antibiotics when indicated, not just because a patient requests them.

The CDC has news this cold and flu season:  antibiotics do not touch viruses—never have, never will!  And it is not really news—it is a long-documented medical fact. Antibiotics can only treat illnesses caused by bacteria. Colds, the flu, most sore throats, bronchitis, and many sinus and ear infections are caused by viruses, not bacteria. If you have a viral infection, antibiotics will not help you feel better or get well sooner. In fact, they can even be harmful.

Taking antibiotics when they are not needed is fueling an increase in drug-resistant bacteria, which cause infections that are more difficult, and sometimes even impossible, to cure. Almost all types of bacteria have become less responsive to antibiotic treatment. Heard of MRSA? These “superbugs” can quickly spread to family members, schoolmates and coworkers, and threaten our communities with illnesses that were once easily treatable. Combatting antibiotic resistance is a priority for CDC with estimates of more than 2 million resistant infections occurring annually in the United States alone.

When antibiotics are used for viral infections, you are not getting the best care. A course of antibiotics will not fight the virus, help you feel better, or lead to a quicker recovery. It may even be harmful. If you are diagnosed with a viral illness, SHS providers will give you advice on what to do to feel more comfortable while the immune system does its work. Suggestions might include drinking plenty of fluids, getting a lot of rest, using over the counter medications, using a cool mist humidifier, or gargling with salt water. Please help SHS continue its commitment to safe and smart antibiotic use by educating yourself about antibiotics.

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If an antibiotic is prescribed for you, take it as directed and complete the entire course of medication, regardless of when you start feeling better.  Partial doses of antibiotics should not be saved “for next time”—this increases resistance and allows the bacteria to possibly come back stronger.  You should also know to never take medication prescribed for others—even if you have similar symptoms as your roommate or think you have the same illness as a friend, it is NEVER okay to share prescriptions or take a dose of antibiotics from another person.

As always, if you have ANY questions about their diagnosis, treatment plan, or how to help your symptoms, call us at 252-328-6841 or email us at gotquestions@ecu.edu.   For more information about the right way to use antibiotics, visit www.cdc.gov/getsmart.

Article adapted from CDC’s educational materials for Get Smart About Antibiotics week.

Has the flu gotten you?

Flu activity is high in North Carolina and we are seeing an increase of cases here at Student Health.  Patients with routine appointments (Pap smears, annual women’s health exams, physicals, etc) should consider rescheduling their appointments to avoid contacting sick persons in the Health Center.

Signs of the flu:  sudden onset of fever, body aches, fatigue, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache.  Rarely it can cause diarrhea or vomiting, but influenza and the “stomach flu” are NOT the same thing.  Flu makes you feel horrible, fast. Like hit by a truck horrible.

***If you think you have the flu, call us at 252-328-6841 before coming to SHS or making an appointment.  Often an appointment is not necessary as the nurses can give you advice on treating your symptoms at home.  This helps keep other students healthy as well by limiting sick patient in our lobby.***

What to do if you are sick:  stay away from others until you have been fever-free for 24 hrs without having to take fever reducing medication.  Take ibuprofen/tylenol for aches and fever, drink a lot of fluids, rest, and cover your sneezes and coughs with a tissue that you throw away. WASH YOUR HANDS.  Are you high risk for flu complications?  Read this and if it applies, call us at 252-328-6841.

  • Do you need a friend to pick up food for you at the dining hall?  You can fill out this form and let your buddy grab you something to eat.
  • Do you need to let your professors know you are sick?  Log onto Onestop and use the “Flu Self Reporting Form”.  Be advised:  this is NOT an excuse.  But, it lets your professors know you are ill and they may work with you on missed work.

What to do if your roommate or someone you love is sickhttp://www.flu.gov/symptoms-treatment/caring-for-someone/index.html

If you aren’t sick, here are a few things to do to try to avoid the flu:

  • get a flu shot–although the best time to get vaccinated is early fall, it is not too late.  We still have shots available here at Student Health–come get one today.  Call us at 252-328-6841 to schedule a time.
  • Avoid sick people–if your friend says they don’t feel well, maybe you should cancel that study session or lunch date.
  • Don’t eat, drink, or smoke after others.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth–we don’t realize how much we introduce germs into our system just by our habits.
  • Wash your hands more than you think is necessary.  Also, alcohol based sanitizers do work against flu, so get a bottle to keep in your bag.
  • Surfaces are gross!  Doorknobs, chair rails, keyboards, money, pens, phones, etc all can harbor flu virus particles.  Remember to clean your hands often especially after touching items others have used.

A few FAQ:

  • Does SHS test for flu?
    Yes, we can.  It is done by swabbing nasal secretions and costs $32.  But, in many cases, it is not helpful since the treatment for flu is based on symptoms, not test results, so your treatment is the same whether the test is negative or positive.  The test is not perfect either, so it may not be entirely accurate.
  • Should I see a doctor?
    In most cases, if you are healthy and have no underlying major medical issues like asthma, pregnancy, diabetes, HIV, heart conditions, cancer, etc, you do not need to see a health care provider since flu typically resolves on its own.  However, if you have severe symptoms or feel that you are not improving, you need to call your doctor or if you have an emergency, call 911.
  • If I have flu, do I need Tamiflu (antiviral medication)?
    Maybe.  Learn more here.  If you have a severe case, or are at high risk for complications, then your doctor will probably prescribe an anti-viral if you are early in the course of illness.  Antiviral medication does not cure the flu but may shorten the duration of symptoms or help prevent complications.  Talk with your health care provider about antiviral options.
  • If someone close to me has the flu but I do not have any symptoms, can I get Tamiflu as a precaution?
    SHS, in accordance with CDC guidelines, does not recommend Tamiflu in healthy persons with no flu symptoms.

Still have more flu related questions?  Email us at fluquestions@ecu.edu

Also, don’t forget: anytime we are not open, you always have the 24hr nurseline available to you for medical advice.  Call our main number, 252-328-6841, and listen to the instructions for speaking with a nurse.

Student Health continually monitors the flu situation.  Look to www.ecu.edu/studenthealth for updates and please follow us on Twitter (@ECU_SHS) for the most up to date information for campus!

Sources & web links for even more flu information:

Flu.Gov                 http://www.flu.gov/
CDC                       http://www.cdc.gov/flu/

Flu is here. Ugh…..

H1N1logo_PeeDee copyPositive flu cases are starting to pop up now in our area, including on campus.  Help keep yourself healthy by getting vaccinated, washing your hands often or using hand sanitizer, and staying away from sick persons if possible.

Need a flu shot?  We are giving them every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday on a walk in basis from 8am-10am at the Student Health Center.  If that doesn’t work for your schedule, call us at 328-6841 to set up an appointment.  We will also be out on campus doing flu shots–check out our dates and times: fluclinicposter2014.  More dates may be added in the future so check our website at www.ecu.edu/studenthealth or follow us on Twitter (@ECU_SHS) for the latest info.

Feeling sick?  Symptoms occur suddenly with flu and can include fever, body aches, cough, runny nose, sore throat, and possibly nausea or vomiting.  Flu hits fast, and usually feels much much worse than a regular cold.  Most people do not need medical attention, as flu is viral and will run its course within a few days to a week. Over the counter medications (tylenol, ibuprofen, etc) and home remedies like warm soup, rest, and salt water gargles may help your symptoms.  However, if you have underlying health conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, heart problems, pregnancy, or immune compromising issues such as cancer or HIV, you should contact your health care provider for further advice.  Symptoms such as shortness of breath, inability to hold down fluids, and chest pain should be evaluated urgently by calling 911 or visiting the ER or local urgent care center.

If you are sick, stay away from others until you are fever free for 24 hours without taking fever reducing medicine.  Communicate early on with your professors about your illness–SHS cannot give you a class excuse for missed days or assignments.  Flu germs can travel 3-6 feet away, so cough or sneeze into your sleeve if possible.

Need help or have flu related questions?  Call us at 328-6841, or email us at GotQuestions@ecu.edu.  If our office is closed, you always have access to our 24hr nurseline for medical advice.

Stay healthy, Pirates!!!!

FLU, FLU, FLU!!!

sneezeFlu is here!

Activity is now high in North Carolina and we are seeing an increase of cases here at Student Health.

Signs of the flu:  sudden onset of fever, body aches, fatigue, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache.  Rarely it can cause diarrhea or vomiting, but influenza and the “stomach flu” are NOT the same thing.  Flu makes you feel horrible, fast.   Like hit by a truck horrible.

What to do if you are sick:  stay away from others until you have been fever-free for 24 hrs without having to take fever reducing medication.  Take ibuprofen/tylenol for aches and fever, drink a lot of fluids, rest, and cover your sneezes and coughs with a tissue that you throw away. WASH YOUR HANDS.  Are you high risk for flu complications?  Read this and if applies, call us at 328-6841.

  • Do you need a friend to pick up food for you at the dining hall?  You can fill out this form and let your buddy grab you something to eat.
  • Do you need to let your professors know you are sick?  Log onto Onestop and use the “Flu Self Reporting Form”.  Be advised:  this is NOT an excuse.  But, it lets your professors know you are ill and they may work with you on missed work.

What to do if your roommate or someone you love is sickhttp://www.flu.gov/symptoms-treatment/caring-for-someone/index.html

If you aren’t sick, here are a few things to do to try to avoid the flu:

  • get a flu shot–although the best time to get vaccinated is early fall, it is not too late.  Student Health gave out of our supply in the fall, but you can go to any retail pharmacy (Target, Walgreens, CVS, RiteAid, etc) or check with the health department.
  • Avoid sick people–if your friend says they don’t feel well, maybe you should cancel that study session or lunch date.
  • Don’t eat, drink, or smoke after others.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth–we don’t realize how much we introduce germs into our system just by our habits.
  • Wash your hands way more than you think is necessary.  Also, alcohol based sanitizers do work against flu, so get you a bottle to keep in your bag.
  • Surfaces are gross–doorknobs, chair rails, keyboards, money, pens, phones, etc all can harbor flu virus particles.  Remember to clean your hands often especially after touching items others have used.

A few FAQ:

  • Does SHS test for flu?
    Yes, we can.  It is done by swabbing nasal secretions and costs $32.  But, in many cases, it is not helpful since the treatment for flu is based on symptoms, not test results, so your treatment is the same whether the test is negative or positive.
  • Should I see a doctor?
    In most cases, if you are healthy and have no underlying major medical issues like asthma, pregnancy, diabetes, HIV, heart conditions, cancer, etc, you do not need to see a health care provider since flu typically resolves on its own.  However, if you have severe symptoms or feel that you are not improving, you need to call your doctor or if you have an emergency, call 911.
  • If I have flu, do I need Tamiflu (antiviral medication)?
    Again, probably not.  Learn more here.  If you have a severe case, or are at high risk for complications, then your doctor will probably prescribe an anti-viral; however, low risk otherwise healthy people do not need prescription medication for flu.

Still have more flu related questions?  Email us at fluquestions@ecu.edu

Also, don’t forget: anytime we are not open, you always have the 24hr nurseline available to you for medical advice.  Call our main number, 328-6841, and listen to the instructions for speaking with a nurse.

Student Health continually monitors the flu situation.  Look to www.ecu.edu/studenthealth for updates and please follow us on Twitter (@ECU_SHS) for the most up to date information for campus!

 

Sources & web links for even more flu information:

Flu.Gov                 http://www.flu.gov/
CDC                       http://www.cdc.gov/flu/

Flu shots now available!

Flu shots are available now to ECU students, by appointment.  Please call (252) 328-6841 to schedule.  Shots are $10–if you have the Student Health Insurance Plan, you pay nothing.  SHIP is the only insurance we file, so if you carry any other type of third party insurance, you’ll pay $10; we can send you a walk out statement if you’d like to try to file it on your insurance yourself.

We’ll be planning flu clinics out on campus soon too, so if you don’t make an appointment for your flu shot, catch us at a clinic near you.  Watch for dates/times on this blog, and our webpage!

Think it is too early to get your flu shot?  Think again.  Watch this: http://www.cnn.com/video/?hpt=he_mid#/video/health/2012/09/03/hm-early-flu-shots.cnn