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 sick: http://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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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: