Seasonal Influenza

What Allegheny students need to know…


Background

  • Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses.  The best way to prevent flu is by getting vaccinated each year.

Those at greater risk of complications from the flu include:

  • Ages less than 5 or 65 and older
  • Pregnant women
  • Those with a co-existing medical condition, such as asthma or diabetes mellitus

How To Prevent It

  • Stay Informed!
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you cough and sneeze.
  • Dispose of used tissues.
  • WASH YOUR HANDS often with soap and hot water.
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth — GERMS SPREAD THAT WAY!
  • STAY HOME if you are sick so that you don’t infect others.
  • GET A FLU SHOT!

Symptoms

Most patients have typical flu-like symptoms that tend to be mild.

Commonly reported symptoms:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Sore Throat
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea occur in some of patients.

How To Manage It

  • Students who have flu-like symptoms should self-isolate for at least 24 hours after their fever is gone (without the use of a fever-reducing medicine). If feasible, students should to home to recuperate.
  • Self-care measures include: get plenty of rest and fluids and take medications such as fever reducers and pain medicine (acetaminophen and/or ibuprofen).
  • Medications such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu) are recommended for treatment of flu only in special circumstances, for example, in pregnant women, patients with high-risk medical conditions, and hospitalized and critically ill patients.
  • Remember, the Health Center is NOT giving class excuses for flu. Please e-mail your professors to let them know you have the flu.

Sick Contacts

If you roommate or other close contact is told that she/he may have flu and you have a chronic illness such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease or other serious chronic condition, are immunosuppressed due to a medical condition or medications, or are pregnant, then you should contact Winslow Health Center (814-332-4355) to schedule an appointment. You may benefit from antiviral medication.


Warning Signs — SEEK EMERGENCY MEDICAL CARE

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen.
  • Sudden dizziness.
  • Severe headache with stiff neck.
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting.
  • Flu symptoms that improve temporarily, but then return with fever and worse cough, which could be a sign of pneumonia.