What To Do About The Flu

Flu shot awareness

Flu Season is officially here. Don't let it ruin your semester.Getting the annual flu vaccine is the best way to avoid contracting and spreading seasonal flu. When more people get vaccinated, the less it will spread throughout the community. Come to the Student Health Center to recieve your flu vaccine located at 100 Student Health Center, Rexburg, ID 83460

All Students (and their dependents) who are on the Student Health Plan can receive the vaccine for FREE! All full-time employees and their families (enrolled on the DMBA Health Plan) can also receive the vaccine for FREE!  Students who are on a private health plan can receive it for just $20 - that's a lot less than what it'll cost you if you do get the flu!
If you think you may already have the flu, scroll down for more information on symptoms and treatment options. If you don't have time to drop in on one of these clinics, the Flu vaccines are offered every day at the Student Health Center from 8am-4:15pm. No appointment needed.

 What is the flu?

Influenza, commonly known as the ‘Flu’, is a contagious viral infection that affects the
nose, throat and lungs. The best way to avoid getting the flu is by getting a yearly
flu shot. For more information on the flu vaccine, visit Flu Shot FAQs.

 What are the symptoms of the flu?

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore Throat
  • Runny or Stuffy Nose
  • Body Aches
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Some people may also have diarrhea and vomiting.

When there are a number of patients infected with the flu, it creates a problem for
health care providers. There are not enough appointments in the day to see all the
patients who seem to have the flu. Unfortunately, for most patients, there is little
that can be done to ease the symptoms. It can be very beneficial for health care
providers to assess those that are at a higher risk.

 What puts a person at high risk of developing the flu?

There are specific people that are at a higher risk for getting flu than others.
The following factors can contribute to being a high risk:
  • Age 65 or older
  • Pregnant
  • Asthma or other chronic lung diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Seizure disorders
  • Compromised immune system (either by illness or medication)
  • Heart problems
  • Age 2 or younger
  • Extreme obesity
  • Cancer patients
  • Those with blood disorders
  • Kidney or liver disorders

 What are my treatment options?

It is expected that most people will recover from the flu without needing medical care.
You can alleviate many of your symptoms through the use of over-the-counter
medicines (decongestants, cough preparations, etc.) that can be obtained without having
to meet with a provider.

Fever and body aches can often be lessened with the use of acetaminophen (Tylenol)
or NSAIDS (Ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin). Cough drops can also help ease the pain of a
sore throat and a cough. Check all labels and use over-the-counter medications as directed.

Aside from taking medication, proper rest, healthy eating habits, and an increase of
fluid intake can speed up the recovery process.

 Should I avoid contact with other people?

Yes, avoidance of others who are sick is beneficial in order to decrease your risk
of developing the illness. If you are sick, you may be ill for several days and
should avoid contact with other people as much as you can. Avoiding highly
populated areas (church, work, school, etc.)and tightly compacted areas
(buses, airplanes, etc.) will help eliminate spreading of the illness.

 How can I keep the Flu Germs away?

Here are a few ways you can help keep them at bay:
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the
    tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze.
  • If soap and water is not readily available, alcohol-based hand sanitizers are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.

 How will I know if I need an appointment with a Health Care provider?

  • If you have one of the high risk factors as stated above
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing at rest
  • Severe pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

 When can I return to School/Work?

The CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is
gone (this is not including the elimination of your fever through the use of
fever-reducing medication).

 Embrace the Friend of Time:

Viral illnesses can take some time to resolve. As long as you follow the
advice above, you will improve. The common cold can take about 7-12
days to resolve, and influenza can take up to 3 weeks. Those with a
cough may find that the cough persists a while after all the other
symptoms have resolved.

If you felt like you were getting better but suddenly get worse,
you should seek treatment immediately.

Check the BYU-Idaho website (www.byui.edu/fighttheflu) for links
to more helpful information.