What are the symptoms of seasonal flu?
Symptoms of seasonal flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. A significant number of people who have been infected with the flu also have reported diarrhea and vomiting.
Is there a self-assessment tool I can use to check my symptoms?
- Do you have a cough?
- Do you have a sore throat?
- Do you have a headache, body aches or chills?
- Do you have vomiting or diarrhea?
- Do you have a fever of 100 °F or more?
If you checked yes to “fever of 100 °F or more” AND “cough or sore throat” you have an influenza-like illness. If you’re not sure if you’re sick, call Norton Medical Center (508-285-9500) or your home doctor.
What should I do if I have an influenza-like illness?
- If you have a health condition such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease, check with Norton Medical Center (508-285-9500) or your home doctor about any special care you may need.
- Isolate yourself.
To avoid giving the flu to others, students with influenza-like illness (i.e. fever with either cough or sore throat) should go home, if possible, or stay in their residence hall room and stay away from others. Do not go to class, work, athletic or social events while ill. Notify your professor as soon as possible if you must miss class.
- Stay home or in your room for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, except to seek medical care or for other necessities. (Fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine like Tylenol, Motrin or Ibuprofen.)
- Get plenty of rest.
- Drink clear fluids (such as water, broth, sports drinks, electrolyte beverages) to keep from becoming dehydrated.
- Cover coughs and sneezes.
- Clean hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub often and especially after using tissues and after coughing or sneezing into hands.
- Meal Pick-up Program:
To help reduce the risk of flu and other illness, Dining Services provides meals-to-go for sick students. Here’s how it works: If you’re sick and need to stay in your room to recover and avoid exposing others, you can ask a friend to pick up your meals from the Emerson or Chase dining halls. Simply contact Dining Services Monday through Friday between 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM by phone (x8209) or have a friend deliver a handwritten note stating that you’re ill and would like your meal to be picked up. Be sure to include your Full Name and Wheaton ID number in the message. See the Dining Services website check each day’s menu.
What should I do about my classes?
Do not go to class, work, athletic or social events while ill. Notify your professor(s) as soon as possible if you must miss class.
Based on the checklist, I have some symptoms, but not an influenza-like illness. What should I do?
If you checked “yes” to only one of the questions above, or if you are ill with other symptoms, stay at home at least one day to observe for other symptoms. If other symptoms develop, use the check list questions again to decide whether to continue to stay home. Return to classes, activities, or work after you have been completely well for 24 hours.
What do I do if my roommate has a flu-like illness and cannot go home?
- Protect yourself from flu exposure in the best way possible.
- Consider rooming with other campus friends when possible.
- Limit visits to your room as much as you can.
- Encourage your sick roommate to wear a facemask when you and others are in the room.
- Support your roommate in their care and recovery (see care tips listed above)
What else can I do? What about the vaccination?
Vaccines are the most powerful public health tool for control of influenza. Experts recommend that college students receive a flu vaccine every fall. Flu vaccines are available locally at CVS and Walgreens pharmacies. We encourage you to reach out directly to your own health care provider to seek guidance regarding individual preparations for the flu season and vaccinations, especially if you are in a high-risk category.
What can I do to avoid getting the flu in the first place?
The CDC recommends the following:
- Get a flu vaccine every year
- Take everyday preventative actions to stop the spread of germs: Cover your nose and mouth with your sleeve when you cough or sneeze; Wash your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol based hand rub; Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; Try to avoid close contact with sick people.