H1N1 Influenza (Swine Flu)

We recommend that you limit exposure to respiratory infectious diseases and follow these tips:
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or sneeze into the crook of your arm.
  • Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • If you get influenza-like illness symptoms, stay home from work or school until at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever. Limit contact with other persons as much as possible (self-isolation).
  • Seek prompt medical attention if you have a medical condition that puts you at increased risk of severe illness from the flu, are concerned about your illness, or develop severe symptoms such as high fever, shortness of breath, rapid breathing, or chest pain.
  • Those diagnosed with influenza are advised to stay in their room or apartment until you have been without fever for 24 hours (without the help of a fever reducer) and to not attend class or campus activities.

How is the influenza virus passed around?

It is spread or transmitted when a person who has the flu coughs, sneezes, or speaks and sends flu virus into the air, and other people inhale the virus. Flu may, less often, be spread when a person touches a surface that has flu viruses on it, a door handle for instance, and then touches his/her nose or mouth.

Is the flu contagious?

The flu is contagious. A person can spread the flu starting one day before they feel sick. Generally, people with flu-like illness should stay home for at least 7 days after the onset of their symptoms, even if they have no more symptoms. If symptoms last longer than 7 days, a person should stay home until 24 hours after they have been fever and symptom free.

How do I know if I have the flu?

Your respiratory illness might be the flu if you have sudden onset of body aches, fever, and respiratory symptoms. While the illness normally occurs during November through April (the usual flu season in the Northern Hemisphere), you may have symptoms at other times of the year, as the flu can be caught at any time of the year. Doctors can perform tests to see if you have the flu if you are in the first few days of your illness.

What should I do if I get the flu?

  • take medication to relieve the symptoms of flu.
  • drink plenty of liquids
  • avoid using alcohol and tobacco
  • rest
A virus causes influenza, so antibiotics (like penicillin) don't work to cure it. Antiviral medications have been shown to decrease the severity of the illness and duration of symptoms by 1 - 1? days. These medications are primarily used for people at high risk for complications of influenza. High-risk people are those with chronic diseases or those over age 65.
The best way to prevent the flu is to get an influenza vaccine (flu shot) each fall, before flu season. There is now a separate H1N1 influenza vaccine which is distinct from the regular flu vaccine that is normally given. It is recommended that both vaccines are taken. Never give aspirin to children or teenagers who have flu-like symptoms-and particularly fever-without first speaking to your doctor. Giving aspirin to children and teenagers who have influenza can cause a rare but serious illness called Reye syndrome. To relieve symptoms they should get plenty of rest, drink lots of liquids, and take medications that contain no aspirin.

What is the myth of the "Stomach Flu"?

This term is used to describe illnesses with nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea that are not caused by the flu virus, but can be caused by many different viruses, bacteria, or even parasites. However, while vomiting, diarrhea, and being "sick to your stomach" can sometimes be related to the flu-particularly in children-these problems are rarely the main symptoms of influenza. The flu is a respiratory disease and not a stomach or intestinal disease.

Is it a cold or is it the flu?

Common Symptoms Cold Flu
Fever Rare Characteristic, high (100-104 degree F; Lasts 3-4 days)
Headache Rare Prominent
General aches, pains Slight Usual, often severe
Fatigue, weakness Quite mild Can last up to 2-3 weeks
Extreme exhaustion Never Early and prominent
Stuffy nose Common Sometimes
Sneezing Usual Sometimes
Sore throat Common Sometimes
Chest discomfort, cough Mild-moderate Common; can become severe Hacking cough
Complications Sinus congestion or earache Bronchitis, pneumonia; can be life-threatening
Prevention No vaccine or preventive
medicines; handwashing;
plenty of rest and good
nutrition will help
Annual vaccination; antiviral medicines See your doctor
Treatment Only temporary relief Antiviral medicines-See your doctor

*From the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Students, parents, faculty and staff are advised to visit the following websites for information on prevention, self-care, treatment, and the status of local and national efforts to address this disease:
CDC: H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu)
CDC: What to do if you get flu-like symptoms
CDC Guide to taking care of a sick person in your home
Watch CDC video/podcast about H1N1 (swine flu)