Flu season health and safety measures
Jan. 9, 2014 – UPDATED JAN. 29, 2014
FROM: Dr. Guy W. Nicolette, Interim Director, UF Student Health Care Center
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — With influenza season well underway and reports of flu cases growing rapidly nationwide, University of Florida healthcare officials are reminding students, faculty and staff of the best ways to avoid the virus or prevent spreading it.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a three-step approach to fighting influenza:
- Get a flu vaccine at a local pharmacy or your healthcare provider’s office.
- Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs, such as washing your hands and using hand sanitizer, and covering your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough. If you do contract the flu, stay home.
- Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.
UPDATE JAN. 29, 2014: The SHCC is out of flu shots for the season.
Why did the SHCC run out of shots? The SHCC purchases anywhere from 8,000 to 10,000 shots each year in anticipation of those students, faculty and staff who will request vaccination. Beginning in September, vaccination rates remain steady through October; however, this rate drops off significantly after the Thanksgiving holiday. Because leftover vaccine cannot be reused the following year, the SHCC purchases only the amount of vaccine typically used to maximize the use of student health fee dollars.
The UF Student Health Care Center vaccinated 8,000 people before the end of November 2013, and an additional 200 in January 2014; click here to learn more about the successful fall 2013 vaccination campaign.
Seasonal flu symptoms include fever of 100°F or higher, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. A significant number of people who have been infected also have reported diarrhea and vomiting.
Not all cases require professional medical attention or treatment with antiviral drugs such as Tamiflu or Relenza. If you are in a high-risk group, you may experience complications with seasonal flu. High-risk group classifications include anyone who is pregnant or has chronic illness or a weakened immune system.
If you develop more serious symptoms such as trouble keeping down fluids, coughing up blood, trouble sitting up or standing or have questions about your condition, contact your healthcare provider.
More information is available here: “Local health officials report spike in flu-related hospitalizations and deaths” (UF Health Newsroom)
Additional information and directions are available via the following websites: