Flu and You: 2018 Flu Season

Published: January 25th, 2018

Category: blog, Featured

Alachua County is currently facing a challenging flu season. We at UF Student Health are drawing from the skills and expertise of our providers, nurses and staff on the best ways to keep students from contracting and spreading the flu. We are prepared to manage a high volume of patients and are seeing large numbers with flu-like symptoms. While our top priority is to help stop the spread of influenza on campus and within the community, given the high volume of patients who rely on SHCC, there may be extended wait times for those who are not in urgent need of medical care.

Patient/Visitor Advisory:

At this time, we are encouraging student patients and visitors of SHCC to please wear a mask inside if seeking medical care, as to limit flu exposure within our facility. Masks are available throughout the building and can be accessed by asking a member of the medical staff.

 What you can do to avoid the flu

The seasonal influenza vaccine provides the best protection available from seasonal flu. As it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against influenza virus infection, it’s best to get vaccinated as early as possible.

Some other tips for limiting exposure to the influenza virus include:

Wash your hands often!

Scrub for at least 20 seconds using soap and water. If you do not have access to soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand cleanser.

Cover your cough or sneeze into a tissue.

Wash your hands afterwards and throw away used tissues immediately. If you are not able to clean your hands, cough or sneeze into your elbow.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth.

Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too. If you work in a health care setting, you may consider wearing a mask.

Clean surfaces frequently.

Clean surfaces, such as door handles, handrails, kitchen table and phones frequently with household cleaner or bleach solution. (Mixing 1/4 cup bleach with 1 gallon of water makes a bleach solution. This should be mixed fresh daily.) If disinfectant is not available hot water and soap can be used.

Take care of yourself!

Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.

What to do if you get sick

Most people with the flu have mild illness and do not need medical care or antiviral drugs. If you get sick with flu symptoms, in most cases, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people except to get medical care.

If, however, you have symptoms of flu and are in a high risk group, or are very sick or worried about your illness, contact your health care provider.

Certain people are at high risk of serious flu-related complications (including young children, people 65 and older, pregnant women and people with certain medical conditions) and this is true both for seasonal flu and novel flu virus infections. If you are in a high risk group and develop flu symptoms, it’s best for you to contact your doctor. Remind them about your high risk status for flu.

Health care providers will determine whether influenza testing and treatment are needed. Your doctor may prescribe antiviral drugs that can treat the flu. These drugs work better for treatment the sooner they are started.

CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone. Your fever should be gone without the use of fever-reducing medicines.

How do I know if I have the flu?

You may have the flu if you have some or all of these symptoms:

  • fever (though fever is the most predominant symptom, not everyone with flu will have a fever)
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • body aches
  • headache
  • chills
  • fatigue
  • sometimes diarrhea and vomiting

For additional resources on emergency signs of the flu, visit our FLU: What to do if you get sick page.


Resources

Additional trusted sources of information include:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2017-2018 Flu Season

  • What you need to know
  • Prevention, symptoms & diagnosis, treatment
  • Information for schools, businesses and travelers
  • Flu news & spotlights

The Florida Department of Health – Influenza

  • Florida Flu Review
  • Updated flu activity, influenza surveillance
  • Flu prevention

UFHealth

  • Updates on Gainesville/surrounding areas
  • Visitation/ER advisories
  • Local flu activity