The most important thing you can do to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated. Book an appointment online for your flu shot today.
- We are happy to see you at the Habif Health and Wellness Center to see if you have the flu and give you recommendations for care.
- An evaluation for flu will include talking to you and examining you, and may or may not involve a rapid flu test. During times when the flu is common, it is not always necessary to have this test in order to be diagnosed with the flu.
- If you are sick with flu-like illness, we recommend that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, to help prevent spreading the flu to others.
- It is ok to leave home to come to Habif for medical evaluation and care, or for other necessities, but try to avoid close contact with others, or wear a mask over your nose and mouth. This helps prevent spreading the flu to others.
For some patients who are at greater risk of complications from the flu due to underlying illnesses, age or pregnancy, or for those patients who have been sick less than 2 days, antiviral medications may be prescribed. They often help shorten the duration of illness and can prevent complications. For some patients, the antiviral medications have caused nausea and sometimes vomiting.
Influenza is a viral illness and antibiotics will not help.
To limit the debilitating effects of flu, follow the instructions below.
- Rest. You do not have to stay in bed, but you should limit your activity as much as possible. Your body can use the energy normally used for physical activity to fight the infection.
- Drink Lots of Fluids. It is unnecessary to eat if you have no appetite, but you should drink fluids to help control the fever and reduce aches and pains.
- Take acetaminophen (such as Tylenol), ibuprofen (such as Advil or Motrin), or naproxen (such as Aleve) which are available over-the-counter. They can relieve muscle aches and fever. Follow the recommended dosage on the package. You should not take aspirin.
- Oral decongestants (such as Sudafed) may relieve excessive nasal discharge and stuffiness. Preparations without antihistamines are less likely to cause drowsiness. Decongestants make some people jittery, unable to sleep and may cause dry mouth.
- Keeping a throat lozenge, cough drop, or hard candy in your mouth will stimulate your saliva and help soothe your throat. Take Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen, which are available over-the-counter. They can relieve muscle aches and fever. Do NOT use Aspirin!
- Over-the-counter cough suppressants have limited efficacy for relief of cough due to upper respiratory infection. A teaspoon of honey dissolved in a warm liquid may be more effective.
- Run a Humidifier or Vaporizer to help relieve dry, hacking cough. If you don’t have a vaporizer, run a hot shower and breathe the moist air. Pots filled with water or wet towels hung in a room will help to produce the same humidifying effect.
- Limit or Discontinue Smoking. Smoking irritates the lining of the respiratory tract, thus lowering the resistance to complications.
- Practice Good Hygiene. To help prevent the spread of the virus, wash your hands frequently, cover your nose and mouth when sneezing, properly dispose of facial tissues, and do not share items like toothbrushes and drinking containers.
If you think you have influenza we ask that you rest at home and to not expose others to the flu in class or at other campus locations. We ask that you take your temperature daily and remain isolated until you are fever free for 24 hours, without having to take acetaminophen or ibuprofen to bring your temperature down to normal. We will provide you with a thermometer and face masks.
If you are going to miss class due to influenza, call or e-mail your professors in advance of your class and let them know why you will be absent. We will provide you with a letter to show your professors stating that we have advised you to stay out of class.
- Make an appointment for a flu shot!
- Cover your cough. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. If no tissue is available, cough or sneeze into your bent elbow.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an antibacterial hand wash.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, since that is how you spread infection.
- Try to avoid close contact with others who are sick. Drink from your own cans/cups/bottles.
- Use disinfectant to clean surfaces in your room or apartment, if your roommate is sick.
The WashU School of Medicine’s Emergency Care Research Core is seeking volunteers who have been diagnosed with the flu to participate in an immune response study. Click here for more info.
- Influenza is a contagious virus that infects the respiratory system, generally in the fall and winter.
- The influenza virus changes its make-up from year to year, which is why a new vaccine is made every year.
- The flu is spread from person to person, mainly by droplets from the nose or mouth of people with the flu, when they sneeze, cough or talk.
- A person with the flu can be contagious (meaning they can pass it on to someone else) from one day before they get sick with symptoms, until five to seven days after they start to feel ill.
|Fever||Rare in adults and older children||102°-104°F, 3-4 days|
|Headache||Rare||Sudden onset and can be severe|
|Muscle aches||Mild||Common, often severe|
|Fatigue and weakness||Mild||Common, can last two or more weeks|
|Extreme exhaustion||Never||Sudden onset and can be severe|
|Sore throat||Often, mild||Common, can be severe|
|Cough||Mild||Common, can become severe|
- Influenza can range from a mild illness to a life-threatening one.
- One of the most serious complications of the flu is bacterial pneumonia, a lung infection.
The most important thing you can do to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated!
- The injectable flu vaccine is made from killed influenza virus, so there is no risk of getting the flu from the vaccine.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) recommends that everyone six months old or older get the flu vaccine every year.
For more information, visit influenza(Flu).
Please call us with any concerns or questions you may have at 314-935-6666. If your need is urgent, and the SHS is closed call 5-5555 on campus or 911 off campus.