Influenza: Information and Care

Flu Shots 2020/2021

As of October 29, 2020, Winslow Health Center is now opening up its stock of flu shots to faculty and staff. As a reminder, the cost is $25 – we will accept cash or a check made payable to Allegheny College. Students also have the option of billing to their student account. Winslow is not able to bill any health insurances. Those interested must call ahead to schedule an appointment – no walk-ins will be accepted. To schedule an appointment, please call Winslow at (814) 332-4355. Emailed appointment requests will not be accepted.

Tip

Unsure what to do about the flu? This information can help! If you don’t know if you need to be seen, experienced nurses are just a phone call away to help you figure out the best course of action. Do you need immediate care, an appointment the next day, or will self care help you? Call Winslow Health Center at (814) 332-4355 for advice.

Background – What is the flu?

  • Influenza is a contagious, viral respiratory disease caused by influenza viruses. Influenza viruses are easily spread from person to person in tiny droplets. The best way to prevent flu is by getting vaccinated each year.

Those at greater risk of complications from the flu include:

  • persons aged 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. Influenza is commonly diagnosed if the patient has a fever greater than 100° F, plus at least two of the following symptoms

Commonly reported symptoms:

  • cough
  • fever
  • sore throat
  • fatigue
  • headache
  • chills
  • runny nose
  • body aches
  • loss of appetite
  • 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) and, if feasible, should go 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
  • please e-mail your professors to let them know you have the flu and will be missing class

Sick contacts

If your roommate or other close contact is told that they 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

Home treatment for flu

  • rest
  • drink plenty of liquids like sports drinks, ginger ale, juices, pop
  • monitor your temperature with a thermometer
  • use acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) for fever and aches and pains
  • dress in light clothing and use light bedding to relieve fever and avoid hot showers
  • over-the-counter cough medicine and decongestants can help symptoms
  • follow a bland diet
  • remember that antibiotics do not cure the flu

When to call the Health Center (814) 332-4355 or your health care provider

  • a fever over 101°F for more than 3 days
  • a fever over 100°F that starts after you have been sick 3 days
  • a cough that lasts more than 10 days after other symptoms have gotten better, especially if you’re still bringing up sputum
  • fast breathing/trouble breathing/shortness of breath
  • not able to hold down fluids
  • severe or persistent vomiting
  • changes in mental status, confusion
  • seizures
  • chest pain or pressure
  • symptoms do not improve in a few days or get worse
  • symptoms improve and then return with fever and worsening of cough
  • headache with a stiff neck
  • any unusual symptoms that are of concern