Every year, the Pat Walker Health Center diagnoses and treats several flu cases.
The traditional flu season is October to March, with peaks in the cold winter months. However, the flu is unpredictable and varies each year and can peak quickly as shown on campus.
The health center wants to make sure you are prepared for flu season.
WHAT IS THE FLU?
Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times lead to serious complications such as hospitalization or death.
Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications.
The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year.
HOW DOES FLU SPREAD?
The flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby.
A person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, eyes or nose.
You may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick.
People who have the flu often show some/all of theses symptoms:
- Fever or feeling feverish/chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (very tired)
HOW TO PREVENT FLU
Anyone can get the flu, which is why it’s important everyone does their part in preventing the spread of the flu virus.
The first and most important step in preventing flu is to get a flu vaccination each year. The health center offers the annual flu vaccine in the Allergy, Immunization & Travel Clinic. To schedule your flu shot, call 479-575-7723.
Everyday actions to help prevent spread of flu?
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- If you get sick with a flu-like illness, we recommend you stay home from work and class until you are fever free for at least 24 hours. The fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.
- While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to avoid infecting them.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially before touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.
TREATING THE FLU
- For starters, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from spreading.
- See your primary care physician to help reduce the severity of the flu. Depending on the severity of your flu, they may prescribe antiviral medication such as Tamiflu
- Get lots of rest.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Take fever reducing medication such as Tylenol.
Anyone with a fever and flu-like symptoms should stay home and out of class until they are fever free for 24 hours with out the use of fever-reducing medication. This will help slow the spread of the virus in the community.
Students who are diagnosed with the flu are advised to email their instructors to inform them of their absence from class. The health center does not provide class excuses, so it’s the responsibility of each individual student to inform their professors.
The health center offers a walk-in clinic — RazorCare — available for same day diagnosis and treatment. Our medical staff has been preparing diligently for the increase in flu cases, so if you are suffering from flu-like symptoms, come to the RazorCare clinic, located on the first floor in the Primary Care Clinic.
If you would like to schedule an appointment, call 479-575-4451 or go to myhealth.uark.edu.