Influenza is probably not something students, faculty and staff at the university are just hearing about. Flu season is rapidly approaching, so that means advertisements for the flu shot and the importance of hand washing are everywhere. The University Health Center believes it is important for students, faculty and staff to know how to differentiate between common cold and flu symptoms, reduce their risk of contracting the flu virus and prevent spreading the flu virus.
The common cold and flu symptoms often express themselves in the same way. With both illnesses, a person may experience fever, headache, body aches and pains, tiredness/weakness, extreme exhaustion, sneezing, stuffy nose, sore throat and coughing/chest discomfort. The main difference between these two illnesses that a person can easily differentiate between the flu and the common cold is sudden onset of symptoms. If an individual has contracted the flu, they can go to bed feeling fine and wake up the next morning to experience some or all of these symptoms suddenly.
The University Health Center encourages students, faculty and staff to practice preventative techniques to help decrease their chance of contracting the flu virus and to help stop the spread of the flu. Some simple preventative techniques include getting the flu shot, washing your hands frequently, covering your nose and mouth when you cough and/or sneeze, staying away from sick people/staying away from people if you are sick, keeping your hands out of your face and disinfecting surfaces that may have been contaminated by the flu virus.
Medical professionals encourage people to get the flu shot to help decrease their chances of contracting certain flu strains and to help from spreading the flu to people that are at high risk and/or cannot receive the flu shot due to medical complications. High risk people who are not medically exempt from receiving the flu shot are highly encouraged to get the flu shot every year. High risk individuals include people 65 years and older, anyone with a chronic medical condition, pregnant women and children younger than five years old. The flu shot may also decrease the duration and severity of flu symptoms if a person does contract the flu.
Flu shots are available at the University Health Center. They are $20 for students, faculty and staff. Appointments must be made online to receive a flu shot. To make an appointment online, go to southeastern.edu/health. For more information about the flu, we encourage the campus community to visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at http://cdc.gov/flu/about/viruses/types.html.