Q: What are the symptoms of the flu?
A: Symptoms of flu include fever, chills, cough, and body aches. Additional symptoms can include sore throat, runny nose, headache, tiredness, diarrhea or vomiting.
Q: What is the difference between a cold and the flu?
A: The flu and the common cold are both respiratory illnesses but they are caused by different viruses. Because these two types of illnesses have similar flu-like symptoms, it can be difficult to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. In general, the flu is worse than the common cold, and symptoms such as high fever, body aches, extreme tiredness, and dry cough are more common and intense. Colds are usually milder than the flu. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose. Colds generally do not result in serious health problems, such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitalizations.
Q: Who is most at-risk for developing the flu?
A: The flu can be serious illness for anyone. The groups at higher risk for complications from this flu are recommended to get the vaccine. These groups include:
· Pregnant women
· People who live with and care for children younger than 6 months of age
· People between the ages of 6 months and 24 years (this includes most of our undergraduate student population)
· Healthcare and emergency medical services personnel
· People ages 25-64 years of age who have chronic health conditions, such as asthma, heart disease or diabetes, or compromised immune systems
Q: What can I do to minimize my risk of contracting the flu?
A: The primary way that flu spreads from person to person is via droplets produced by coughs and sneezes. To minimize the spread, individuals should:
- Practice good hand hygiene: Wash your hands frequently! Or use hand sanitizer if you are unable to use soap and water.
- Use good respiratory etiquette: Cough or sneeze into a tissue or into the crook of your arm or shoulder to minimize spread of the virus.
- Get vaccinated for the flu, especially if you are at risk. "Free" Flu Shots are given by the Wilkes-Barre City Department of Health ON CAMPUS every October during the annual Health Fair. They can also be obtained at most pharmacies and the cost is generally covered by health insurance.
- Frequently clean surfaces in your residence hall room or apartment. This includes doorknobs, refrigerator handles, counters and computer keyboards. Disinfecting wipes are especially good for this.
Q: Is there medication for the flu and how can I get medication for the flu?
A: We are able to provide prescriptions for Tamiflu when indicated. This medication does not cure the flu but can reduce it's duration and the severity of symptoms. Students should visit the Student Health Center for evaluation when they are ill, or contact the health center for advice. Prescriptions can also be obtained from your personal physician.
Q: How long does the flu last?
A: It is suggested that anyone with flu-like symptoms should stay home or in their residence for a few days or for at least 24 hours after they no long have a fever.