BY PROHEALTH PHYSICIAN, ROBERT WENICK, MD
Influenza, commonly known as “the flu,” is an infectious disease caused by an influenza virus. Flu cases have been reported in all of Connecticut’s eight counties and it is now considered widespread. It’s important to note that symptoms can be mild to severe. The most common symptoms include a high fever, runny nose, sore throat, muscle pains, headache, coughing, and feeling tired. What should we do to prevent us from getting the flu?
In addition to getting a seasonal flu vaccine, as a health care worker, you can take everyday preventive actions, such as washing your hands to reduce the spread of germs. If you are sick with flu, you should stay home from work to prevent spreading flu to others. Taking anti-viral medication can be important in reducing symptoms and the time to recovery.
You should also encourage your loved ones—particularly those who are at greatest risk of complications—to get vaccinated. This includes young children, adults aged 65 years and older, pregnant women, and people with certain chronic medical conditions, such as asthma or other lung diseases. It’s not too late to get the vaccination, unless you already are ill. If you or a loved one who are at high risk of flu complications develop flu symptoms, see a doctor right away for possible treatment with flu antiviral drugs. These medicines need to be started within 48 hours of symptoms to be most effective.
The flu can be a very serious illness. Most people who get influenza will recover in several days to less than two weeks, but some people will develop serious complications as a result of the flu. If you have the flu, stay home and seek medical care early. Please remember that your Student Health Center has a good supply of flu vaccine ready to administer.
People with flu can spread it to others up to about 6 feet away. The flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. A person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose. To avoid this, people should stay away from sick people and stay home if sick. Frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected at home, work and school, especially if someone is ill.
Most people with the flu may be able to infect other people beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. They can pass the virus for longer than 7 days. Symptoms start 1 to 4 days after the virus enters the body. That means that you may be able to pass the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Some people can be infected with the flu but have no symptoms. During this time, those persons may still spread the virus to others.
Please make sure to wash your hands often!
Symptoms of flu may include sudden onset of fever or chills and cough or sore throat. In addition, symptoms of flu can include body aches, headache, diarrhea, or vomiting.
Call Health Services to make an appointment to be seen. If you are too sick to leave your room, contact your RA or Public Safety for assistance. Hydration packs are available from Health Services (860.768.6601).
Arrangements can be made for food delivery using Dining Service's "Get Well Buddy" form. (see link on right side of this page)
Visit a healthcare provider to verify whether you have the flu or a cold. If flu is confirmed, contact your department head and/or direct supervisor. Faculty members, if possible, please notify your students through Blackboard or email on how class assignments will proceed.
Please, stay home or go home if you can. If you cannot get home, please self-isloate in your room until you are fever/cough-free for at least 24 hours without medication. If you need help getting food while you are on campus, please see our link on the right side of this page for our "Buddy Form". This will allow you to assign a friend to pick up meals under your food plan. We are here to help if you need any assistance with food, classes, medication, etc.
If you are diagnosed off campus, please notify us so we may help you with notification of your classes.
If a severe flu outbreak hits our community, we will take additional steps to avoid spreading the flu virus on campus.
If you have any questions about policies or would like to suggest action steps we can take, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. By working together, we can protect our community and have a productive fall and winter.
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