Student Health Service

To Promote and Advance the Health and Wellbeing of our Students

FAQs about the flu

Is it the flu?

During the winter months coughs, colds and flu are more common. How do you know if it is the flu, a cold or the stomach flu (stomach virus)? Patients with the flu typically have symptoms that start suddenly. Symptoms of the flu and a cold can be similar and include:

  • Cough
  • Runny and/or stuffy nose
  • Sore throat, swollen glands
  • Fatigue
  • Headache

Unlike a cold, many people with the flu will have a fever (temperature > 100.3), body aches and their symptoms will be more severe.

While some people with the flu (influenza) may have nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, these symptoms are less common. If your symptoms do NOT include head congestion, cough or runny nose, but include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and possible fever, you likely have a stomach virus which is different than influenza.

For an interactive on line assessment and tips on when to see a medical provider and self care, please visit:
http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/health-tools/search-by-symptom/cold-flu.html

I think I might have the flu, do I need to see a medical provider?

Most healthy college students are able to recover from the flu or a cold with rest and some self care treatments and do not need to see a healthcare provider. Information from the CDC on how to battle the flu or a cold at home (self care) can be found at:

How do I know when I do need to seek medical attention?

Some individuals have medical conditions which can increase how sick they become with the flu or other respiratory illnesses. If you have chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart problems, a weakened immune system, sickle cell anemia) or take medications that make it difficult to fight an infection, you should schedule an appointment to see a medical provider. Appointments can be made by calling Student Health Service (SHS) at 336-758-5218.

Other reasons to seek medical attention include experiencing the following symptoms:

  • Fever lasting more than 2-3 days or any fever over 103 that does not relieved by acetaminophen, ibuprofen or other fever reducing medications.
  • Chest pain, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing up blood
  • Severe sore throat and difficulty swallowing
  • Severe headache, stiff neck, dizziness
  • Rash, yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • Vomiting and inability to drink clear liquids to hydrate
  • Symptoms lasting over 5 days without signs of improvement

I am sick, should I go to class?

The flu is highly contagious. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends that anyone with symptoms of influenza stay home from work and/or school until the fever associated with the illness has been resolved for at least 24 hours. These individuals should stay home from work, school, travel, shopping, social events, and public gatherings.

An email has been sent to all faculty advising them of this outbreak and that students should not be expected to attend class, labs, or other academic gatherings with these symptoms.  Because of high demand for clinical services, students should not be required to obtain documentation of this illness from the Student Health Service; faculty are encourage to accept the verbal report from the student.

If I am too sick to leave my room, how can I get food?

Students are recommended to remain in their rooms until their fever has been resolved for 24 hours. This means you should not go to dining service locations. Meal kits can be obtained by a friend using the sick student’s meal plan. “Tickets” for the Flu meal kit program can be obtained through your RA or on the dining services website:
http://www.campusdish.com/NR/rdonlyres/05183980-543A-47FE-9105-01621A15F349/0/FluMealKitProgram.pdf

I tried to make an appointment on line for SHS, but there were no available appointments, does that mean I cannot be seen?

Student Health Service is making every effort to have open appointment slots for students with illness to be evaluated in a timely fashion. We are triaging appointments by telephone to ensure that we are able to provide these services. Therefore the web based appointments will be suspended until the need for services reduces.

Appointments are available. Please call (336) 758-5218 and select 0 to speak with someone in our clinic. We will work with you to find an appointment that works for you. If you have a fever, you should remain in your room until the time of the appointment. We recommend that you do not walk over to the clinic, but call ahead to reduce the amount of time you need to wait to be seen.

I came to SHS and did not have a flu test, don’t I need one to determine if I have the flu?

Rapid flu tests are available and have some use in helping medical providers determine the cause of a patient’s illness.

Unfortunately, the ability of these tests to detect the flu can vary greatly. This variation in ability to detect viruses can result in some people who are infected with the flu having a negative rapid test result. (This situation is called a false negative test result.)

The CDC is recommending that health care providers not rely on flu test results to treat patients who are ill with typical flu like illness. Therefore in most cases a flu test is not necessary or recommended. For more information from the CDC:
http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/testing.htm#have-flu

My roommate is ill with the flu, how can I stay healthy?

Ways to reduce your risk of catching the flu include:

  1. Obtaining a flu shot if you have not already received one. Flu shots are still available at SHS Monday-Friday 9 AM- 4 PM without an appointment.
  2. Good hand hygiene (frequent hand washing or use of hand sanitizers).
  3. Keeping surfaces clean with products that list they kill the flu virus.
  4. Flu kits are available through your RA which include face masks, hand sanitizer and information about the flu.
  5. Some individuals with high risk conditions may consider using an antiviral medication to prevent the flu from a close contact. Please see information from the CDC about antiviral use below:

For more general information about influenza, please visit the CDC website:
http://www.cdc.gov/flu/keyfacts.htm