Flu Season is here

It’s cold and flu season and we at the Office of Health Services want to make sure we’re all doing what we can to take care of ourselves and each other.
Always remember to take care of ourselves by eating well to nourish our bodies, getting sleep to recharge and prepare our bodies, and taking steps to protect our bodies. If you get the flu, stay home, contact your health care provider, and make sure you are better before returning to campus.
 
Also, sneeze and cough into your elbows....but don't forget about HANDWASHING...There is one very important thing that we can all do to change how we expose each other, ourselves and loved ones to the germs that cause cold, flu, and other illnesses... WASH OUR HANDS...

Flu virus signs and symptoms

Influenza Vaccine

Why get vaccinated?

Influenza (“flu”) is a contagious disease.

It is caused by the Influenza virus, which can be spread by coughing, sneezing, or nasal secretions.
Anyone can get influenza, but rates of infection are highest among children. For most people, symptoms last only a few days. They include:
  • fever/chills
  • sore throat
  • muscle aches
  • fatigue
  • cough
  • headache
  • runny or stuffy nose
Other illnesses can have the same symptoms and are often mistaken for influenza.

Young children, people 65 and older, pregnant women, and people with certain health conditions – such as heart, lung or kidney disease, or a weakened immune system – can get much sicker. Flu can cause high fever and pneumonia, and make existing medical conditions worse. It can cause diarrhea and seizures in children. Each year thousands of people die from influenza and even more require hospitalization.

By getting flu vaccine you can protect yourself from influenza and may also avoid spreading influenza to others.

Inactivated influenza vaccine

There are two types of influenza vaccine:
  1. Inactivated (killed) vaccine, the “flu shot,” is given by injection with a needle.
  2. Live, attenuated (weakened) influenza vaccine is sprayed into the nostrils. This vaccine is described in a separate Vaccine Information Statement.
A “high-dose” inactivated influenza vaccine is available for people 65 years of age and older. Ask your doctor for more information.

Influenza viruses are always changing, so annual vaccination is recommended. Each year scientists try to match the viruses in the vaccine to those most likely to cause flu that year. Flu vaccine will not prevent disease from other viruses, including flu viruses not contained in the vaccine.

For more information about the flu virus, including signs and symptoms that you’ve become infected, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website by clicking here.
We will be receiving a limited supply of Flu Vaccine for our students at the Office of Health Services that I will be able to administer to you.

Handwashing

Hand washing is the single most important step in preventing the spread of diseases. Since your hands come in contact with nearly any bodily fluid that you might have, not to mention other sources of germs, it is extremely important to wash them often. We all use our hands much more frequently than we realize and they come into contact with millions of germs a day.

So, do you think you wash your hands enough? Are you doing it properly? This step-by-step guide will show you how to wash your hands effectively so you know that you are minimizing your risk of catching and spreading illnesses.
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Time Required: 30 seconds
HANDWASHING, Here's How:
  1. Turn on water, preferably to a warm, comfortable temperature.
  2. Use approximately a dime sized squirt of liquid hand soap (or according to manufacturer's instructions).
  3. Use approximately a dime sized squirt of liquid hand soap (or according to manufacturer's instructions).
  4. Lather and rub hands together for at least 20 seconds (Sing the "Happy Birthday" song twice).
  5. Be sure to wash well between fingers and under nails, although using a nail brush is not necessary.
  6. Rinse all soap off hands.
  7. Using two paper towels, dry hands completely.
  8. Turn off faucet with paper towels, then discard towels in garbage can.

Tips:

  1. Hot water is not necessary.
  2. Hand washing is most effective at washing away germs, not necessarily killing them.
  3. Antibacterial soaps have not been proven to be more effective than regular soap, so use what you like.
  4. Getting hands completely dry is essential in the hand washing process. Wet hands are more likely than even dirty hands to carry germs.
  5. Be sure to use the towels to turn off the faucet. Remember, you just turned it on with your dirty hands
  6. Be sure to use the towels to turn off the faucet. Remember, you just turned it on with your dirty hands!
What You Need: Water, soap, paper towels

Be well….. Nurse Kathy.