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Flu Care Advice for Students

Most respiratory symptoms of recent onset are viral and can be managed without a physician evaluation. Please review the guidelines below for advice.

If your measured temperature is 100.0 or higher (fever) in the past 12 hours, please click here.

If your measured temperature is less than 100.0 (no fever) consider seeking care at the University Health Center if you have:

  1. Shortness of Breath
  2. Respiratory symptoms for greater than 10-14 days
  3. Severe sore throat for greater than 3 days

Useful Patient Education:

Only specialized testing can diagnose H1N1 influenza with certainty. This testing is not available for outpatient clinics, including the University Health Center. Based on information from the Center for Disease Control, this flu season we are seeing a mix of regular "seasonal" Flu and H1N1 Flu.

Both Seasonal Flu and H1N1 will cause the following symptoms:

  • Abrupt onset of respiratory symptoms including any or all of the following: cough, nasal congestion and sore throat.
  • Fever (measured fever of 100.0 or higher).
  • Body aches.

H1N1 Flu Facts:

  • In most people it is a fairly mild illness with full recovery expected.
  • Only patients who are severely ill (requiring hospitalization) or have significant underlying illness (heart disease, moderate-severe asthma, chronic lung disease, HIV, immunosuppressive disorders, kidney disease) or who are on long term aspirin therapy require antiviral medications (Tamiflu).
  • Duration of the illness varies, most individuals can expect to feel ill for 3-7 days.

I’m sick with influenza-like illness, what should I do?

  • If a student develops an influenza-like illness (ILI) or is diagnosed with H1N1 flu, he/she should self-isolate at home (leaving campus to return home is encouraged if private transportation is available) or in their residential hall space until at least 24 hours after they are free of fever, or signs of a fever, without the use of fever-reducing medicines.
  • Students with flu like illness should not walk in to the University Health Center for care. This will keep students with flu like illness away from students seeking care for other conditions. Review the advice on the University Health Center website and/or call the University Health Center with specific medical questions.
  • Students in a high risk group should contact the University Health Center at (518) 442-5229 to schedule an appointment. You should make it clear when calling that you are in a high risk group for influenza complications. High risk groups include: pregnant women and those with respiratory disease (asthma, COPD), heart disease, diabetes, renal disease, morbid obesity or who have compromised immune systems.
  • Students who develop difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness, confusion, severe or persistent vomiting, if flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough, should seek medical care. In an emergency, call 911.
  • To help prevent others they live with from becoming ill, ill students can wear a disposable facemask when close contact with other people in the home is unavoidable. Disposable facemasks can be purchased at pharmacies and medical supply, hardware or home improvement stores and may be labeled as surgical, dental, medical procedure, isolation or laser masks. Facemasks cover the nose and mouth and reduce the number of infectious droplets you may cough or sneeze into the air. Dispose of used facemasks in the trash and wash your hands or use an alcohol-based hand rub immediately after you remove a facemask.
  • Unless necessary for medical care, students should stay home. If they must be in a public place, they should protect others by wearing a facemask and make the time they spend in crowded settings as short as possible.
  • Rest, drink plenty of clear non-alcoholic fluids and take Over-the-Counter medications typically used to treat fever, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
  • Students should cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Promptly throw the tissue into the trash and wash hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid having visitors. If visitors must enter your home, they should avoid close contact with you.
  • Stay home, remain out of school, work, sports and community activities until you have been fever free for at least 24 hours without using fever reducing medicines. A fever is defined as 100ºF or 37.8ºC.
  • Upon returning to full activity, follow all infection control strategies including covering your cough, frequent hand-washing, social distancing and not sharing personal care items.

As you recover, remember to take these everyday steps to protect your health and the health of others:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it and clean your hands immediately.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners also are effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
  • Don’t share personal items.
  • Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
  • Avoid getting close to people who are sick. Stay 6 feet away from a sick person.
  • Wash surfaces on your work space with a disinfectant daily.
  • Wipe down shared keyboards, and telephones often.
  • Plan to get a flu shot this fall either on campus or at your doctor’s office.

What is the best technique for washing my hands to avoid getting the flu?
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. Wash with soap and water or clean with alcohol-based hand cleaner. CDC recommends that when you wash your hands -- with soap and warm water -- that you wash for 15 to 20 seconds. When soap and water are not available, alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers may be used. You can find them in most supermarkets and drugstores. If using gel, rub your hands until the gel is dry. The gel doesn't need water to work; the alcohol in it kills the germs on your hands.