07:11pm Wednesday 13 December 2017

Student Health Recommendations Regarding Early Flu Season

The number of hospitalizations and the percent of patients going to clinics for flu-like symptoms are already three times higher than typical years, and the peak of activity is not expected for several more weeks.

It is not too late to get a flu vaccination!

Flu vaccines are still available through the Thielen Student Health Center, and vaccination is highly recommended. No appointment is necessary; students can walk in during normal business hours.

The flu vaccine is $20 (injection) or $25 (nasal mist). The cost will be billed to a student’s insurance first, and any un-paid cost will be billed to the uBill.

If students have questions, they can call the clinic at 515-294-5801.

So far, this season’s vaccine is reducing the risk of having to go to the doctor for influenza by about 60% for vaccinated people, according to the Center for Disease Control’s data published on January 11.

Symptoms of Influenza

Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by a virus. It is characterized by sudden onset of fever, body aches, fatigue, sore throat, cough and/or congestion. Other symptoms may include nausea, but these are much less common.

  • Take this quick quiz to help you decided if you have a cold or the flu.

What to do if you get the flu:

  1. Stay home from school, work and all meetings or appointments until your symptoms subside and you have been without a fever for 24-hours (without taking fever-reducing medications). This can take from 3-5 days or longer depending on the individual case.
  2. Consider over-the-counter medications to help relieve symptoms such as discomfort from body aches, cough or other symptoms you may be experiencing.
  3. Anti-viral medications such as Tamilflu are not recommended for otherwise healthy people with the flu.
  4. Get as much sleep as possible, and do not over-exert yourself physically. Do not go to the gym.
  5. Drink plenty of fluids and eat a nutritious diet.

Most cases of the flu will not require a visit to your doctor. However…

  • Students should call their healthcare provider if they experience marked worsening of symptoms such as increasing cough with shortness of breath, or prolonged periods of fever greater than 101 degrees F that aren’t relieved by taking over-the-counter, fever-reducing medications.
  • Students should emergency treatment if they have difficulty breathing, feel severe pain or pressure in their chest or abdomen, suddenly get dizzy or confused; or experience severe or persistent vomiting.
  • If influenza-like symptoms get better, but then return with a worse fever and cough, students should seek medical advice.
  • Women who are pregnant or people with chronic health conditions should seek guidance from their doctors if they experience influenza symptoms.

Professors, instructors, and supervisors, please do not require a “doctor’s note” for your students or employees who are home ill with the flu.

It is in everyone’s best interest for ill persons to stay home when they’re sick. Healthcare providers need to focus on seeing persons whose symptoms require medical intervention.

Things you can do to avoid getting the flu:

  1. Get the flu vaccine; it’s not too late to be vaccinated. The flu vaccine is available at the student health center for $20 (vaccine) or $25 (nasal mist).
  2. Wash your hands frequently or used alcohol-based hand sanitizing gels. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  3. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
  4. Avoid close contact with persons who are ill with the flu. If you do come in contact with the flu, wash your hands immediately.
  5. Remember to cough or sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue, and wash your hands immediately afterward. Throw used tissues in the trash immediately.
  6. Take good care of your immune system by getting plenty of sleep, eating a nutritious diet, drink plenty of fluids and avoiding high levels of stress.

Thielen Student Health Center recommends visiting the Center for Disease Control for further recommendations on vaccination and seasonal flu activity.

Iowa State University of Science and Technology.


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