What is the flu?
Influenza (Flu) season will soon be here and we can all do our part in keeping ourselves, our friends and the Brown community healthy during this season.
Influenza, a contagious respiratory illness is caused by several strains of the influenza virus.
Signs of the flu:
It may be difficult to distinguish if someone has the flu or a respiratory illness caused by other viruses. Most people infected with the flu virus develop a sudden fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches, body aches and fatigue. Many people develop complications including sinus and ear infections, pneumonia and even death.
People with underlying chronic illnesses such as asthma, diabetes, heart, lung or kidney diseases, with weakened immune systems, or taking medications which would suppress their immunity are more likely to develop complications, and should take all preventive measures.
How can you prevent getting the flu?
Good health practices:
People who get the flu are infectious beginning 1 day before to 5-7 days after developing the symptoms. The flu virus is spread by nasal and oral droplets that can spread to others up to 6 feet away! In addition, the virus can linger on objects for many hours.
Frequent hand-washing with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub; and coughing and sneezing into a tissue can prevent the spread of the virus. Avoid touching your face as the virus is introduced into your body through the eyes, nose and mouth. Wiping objects and surfaces with an antiseptic wipe can also help stop the spread of germs.
Get the flu shot:
Getting an annual flu vaccine is the most effective way of preventing the flu and is recommended for all persons aged 6-months and older. While there are several strains of the flu virus, the vaccine provides protection against the most common strains for the season. Even if it does not prevent all incidents of the flu, it can make the illness less severe. It may take up to two weeks to build immunity after you get the vaccine, so it is important to continue with good health practices throughout the season.
You can get the flu shot even if you have an egg-allergy. Please discuss your allergy with a Health Services provider. For more information regarding egg allergy and flu shots see: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine/egg-allergies.htm.
Flu Clinics will be held in the fall.
Take care of your health:
Our immune system cannot work effectively to fight infections when we are fatigued. Ensuring that you are eating well and getting a good night's sleep are important ways to help fight the flu and other viral infections
If you have flu-like symptoms:
Contact Health Services at 401-863-1330. The nursing advice line is available 24/7 to all Brown students. Anti- viral medications can shorten the duration of illness and/or decrease severity, but must be started within the first 48 hours to be effective. Anti-viral medication can also be prescribed for people with chronic medical conditions to prevent the flu.
Avoid close contact with others. Stay in your room till you don't have a fever for at least 24 hours without fever-reducing medicines.
Register through FluWeb, a service that will connect you to on-campus resources including Student Support Services, dining and faculty.