Monday, October 14, 2013 5:07 PM

What can I do to prevent influenza?

Everyone should get vaccinated against seasonal influenza as early as possible.

Common-sense precautions also limit the spread of influenza and other illnesses:

What should I do if I get sick?

The symptoms of influenza include:

If you have these symptoms, stay home and avoid close contact with other people until you’ve had no fever for 24 hrs, without the use of fever-reducing medications—that can take four to seven days. People who catch influenza can be contagious for up to a day before they have any symptoms. Once you’re infected, it can take three days for symptoms to appear.

Most people who get sick with influenza will not need medical care. Pregnant women and people with chronic medical conditions like diabetes, cancer, asthma, heart or lung problems, or weakened immune systems should contact their doctors for guidance.

What are signs of more serious problems?

Call 911 or seek emergency treatment if you have difficulty breathing or shortness of breath; feel pain or pressure in your chest or abdomen; suddenly get dizzy or confused; or experience severe or persistent vomiting. Seek help if your influenza-like symptoms get better, but then return with a worse fever and cough.

Is there medication for influenza?

Most people recover from influenza on their own, but some at particular risk for influenza complications—including people who are hospitalized or have chronic medical conditions—may be prescribed antiviral medications. These medicines don’t cure influenza, but may reduce severity of symptoms or decrease recovery time by about a day.

What is the University doing to prepare for influenza on campus?

The University offers seasonal influenza vaccination options for students, faculty, and staff, and has developed contingency plans for disease outbreaks on campus, covering everything from a heavy influenza season to even more serious conditions.

Where can I get more information?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web site is an excellent source for the latest influenza info. You’ll find answers to many more health and prevention questions there.