Some notes about flu season!

Hello students and families.

Flu season is here.  Flu activity is increasing nationally and additional increases are expected in the coming weeks.   For people who are otherwise healthy, influenza strikes hard and fast.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months and older should receive the influenza vaccine.  If you have not gotten your flu vaccine yet this season, you should get one now.  A flu vaccine is the first and best way to protect yourself and the people around you.

If you have the flu, stay in your apartment, dorm room, or home for at least 24 hours after any fever.  Wear a mask if you leave your room.  Avoid sharing food, utensils, cups or bottles.  Wash your hands often during the day with soap and water.  Cover your mouth with a tissue and throw it away after use.  Cough into your sleeve if a tissue is not available.  Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

Treat your symptoms with acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help lower fever.  Cough drops or throat spray will help a sore throat.  You will need a lot of rest.  Drink plenty of liquids.  Antibiotics are not helpful, as they treat bacterial infections, not viral.  Influenza is a viral infection.

Go to  http://www.cdc.gov/flu  for more information.

Another viral infection, not related to influenza, is norovirus.  Norovirus is a very contagious virus and is the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis in the United States.  Norovirus illness is often called “stomach flu” or “food poisoning”.  There is no vaccine to prevent norovirus.  The best way to prevent norovirus is proper hand washing and general cleanliness.  Wash fruits and vegetables and cook seafood thoroughly.  When you are sick, do not prepare food or care for others.  Clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces.  Wash laundry thoroughly.

If you have norovirus illness, you should drink plenty of liquids to replace fluids lost from throwing up and diarrhea.  This will prevent dehydration.  Antibiotics, which treat bacterial infections,  will not be helpful against this viral infection.

See http://www.cdc.gov/norovirus/preventing-infection.html