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Flu related FAQ:

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Who is at risk?

Anyone can get the flu. People who live in crowded conditions, such as residence halls, have a higher risk of exposure to all respiratory illnesses, including the flu.

The elderly and people with weakened immune systems are at the highest risk of complications. People with diabetes, chronic heart disease and respiratory disease, such as asthma, are also at greater risk of complications.

People who should especially consider getting the flu vaccine include:

  • People with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma or other chronic respiratory conditions
  • People with weakened immune systems due to medical conditions or certain medications
  • People living in crowded conditions (such as residence halls or apartments) who are at higher risk of exposure to the virus
  • People whose lifestyle include excessive stress, inadequate sleep and/or nutrition 

What are symptoms of the flu?

  • Sudden onset of fever
  • Headache and body aches
  • Dry cough, sore throat, runny nose
  • Eye irritation and pain with eye movement
  • Excess tiredness and weakness

If you are not sure if you have the flu or some other viral or respiratory infection, please make an appointment to be evaluated by a health care provider. 

Call the Student Health Service at 231-7331 to schedule an appointment. 

What can I do to prevent the flu?

Your best defense against influenza is to get vaccinated. The flu vaccine is safe and effective. The flu vaccine is made from killed flu virus and cannot give you the flu. Because the virus changes each year, the make-up of each year's flu vaccine changes too, necessitating annual flu shots for protection.

Because flu "season" usually peaks each year between December and March, we usually recommend getting the flu shot in the fall. As with any other vaccine, flu vaccine may not protect 100% of those exposed to the virus.

In addition to getting the flu shot, how else can I protect myself and others?

  • Stay as healthy as you can. Get plenty of rest and do not smoke. If you drink, limit your intake to no more than 1-2 drinks in one sitting. Drink plenty of water, eat a balanced diet, engage in physical activity, and try to manage your stress.
  • Avoid close contact. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick, too.
  • Stay home when you are sick. If possible, stay home from work, school and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
  • Cover your mouth and nose. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. If you have no tissue, cough or sneeze into your sleeve, not your hands.
  • Clean your hands. Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth.

What should I do if I think I have the flu?

  • Drink plenty of fluids (non-caffeinated, non-alcoholic) to prevent dehydration
  • Rest to promote healing
  • Gargle with salt water (1/2 tsp. per 8 oz. warm water) to soothe a sore throat
  • Take over-the-counter (OTC) acetaminophen or ibuprofen as directed for fever and aches
  • Take over-the-counter decongestants as directed for runny nose

If you are concerned about your illness, your symptoms are severe, or if you are at high risk for complications, you should seek care from a health care provider. Call Student Health Service at 231-7331 for an appointment.

What about medications to treat the flu?

There is no cure for the flu. Antibiotics are of no use because they do not work on viral illnesses. There are antiviral drugs that have been approved for treating the flu. They reduce the duration of symptoms by about 1 day if taken within 2 days of the onset of the flu. These medications may be prescribed if your physician feels they are appropriate.

If a person has an illness caused by another kind of virus or by bacteria, the medicines will not be effective. If you have questions, please make an appointment with a health care provider.

Call the Student Health Service at 231-7331 to schedule an appointment.

Where can I get more information about the flu?

Additional information about influenza and the flu vaccine is available at the Student Health Service. You may call 231-7331 to speak to a health care provider.

Here are some additional links:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
North Dakota Department of Health

Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

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North Dakota State University
Phone: +1 (701) 231-7331/ Fax: (701) 231-6132
Campus address: Wallman Wellness Center 102
Physical/delivery address: 18th Street and Centennial Blvd., Fargo, ND 58102
Mailing address: NDSU Dept. 5150/ PO Box 6050 / Fargo, ND 58108-6050
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Last Updated: Friday, May 29, 2015 1:57:52 PM