Influenza Info

Influenza is a very contagious respiratory illness that is caused by influenza virus. Symptoms of the illness could be mild to severe and sometimes can even lead to death. Elderly, young children, and people with certain health conditions are at highest risk of serious flu complications. The best prevention against the flu is to get vaccinated each year. The vaccine is modified each year to protect against various influenza viruses.

Signs & Symptoms of the Flu:
•    Cough
•    Sore throat
•    Runny or stuffy nose
•    Body aches and or headache
•    Fever (chills)
•    Exhaustion
•    Fatigue
•    Can include nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea

How can I avoid getting the flu?
Getting vaccinated is the number one preventative against the flu. The Health Clinic offers the vaccine during flu season at a reduced rate compared to local pharmacies or clinics. Other flu prevention strategies include:
•    Wash hands with soap and warm water every time you shake hands or touch surfaces that may be covered in germs.
•    Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when hand washing is not able to be done.
•    Disinfect surfaces that may be covered in germs before touching them.
•    Do not touch your mouth, eyes, or nose without washing your hands first.
•    Stay healthy by eating a balanced diet, exercise four days a week, and get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.
•    Evidence shows that smokers get more flu infections than non-smokers, so stop smoking.

What to do if you have some of the above symptoms:

1. Notify the Health Clinic. Call 830-792-7279 to schedule an appointment to see the nurse and the nurse will evaluate to see if referral to a local doctor is needed. People at risk of complications from flu may be prescribed antiviral medication. Antiviral medication can help you get better faster but need to be started within 2 days of getting sick. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses & should not be requested. If you are referred to a doctor and flu is confirmed by testing, make sure to request a note from the doctor for your illness.

2. Self isolate - this protect others - it's the right thing to do!
Stay home if you get sick. Stay home from work, school, errands, and limit close contact with others to keep from infecting them. In most cases people with flu will get better without medical attention.
- if it is inconvenient for you to go home, stay in your room or apartment
- use a mask when answering the door & when someone is in the room with you
- use hand washing precautions (or hand sanitizer when hand washing is not convenient)
- wipe down shared faucet and bathroom fixtures, light switches, door knobs, microwave & fridge handles, TV remotes, etc. with sanitizer or Lysol type spray
- wait to be around people until your fever has been gone for 24 hours without taking fever-reducing medications & you no longer have a cough
-sneeze into your elbow whenever you need to sneeze because sneezing in your hand increases risk of passing the germs around
-throw away used tissues after blowing your nose, germs linger on surfaces for up to eight hours.

3. Notify your room mate or suite mates of your illness.
Remind them to use hand washing precautions & practice social distancing.

4. Notify your professors of your illness & to review with them how to keep up with your studies.
Email your instructors if you have been diagnosed with the flu and request all your assignments.

A student who is advised to self-isolate has the following responsibilities:
1) Contact professors by e-mail or telephone to communicate your health status.
2) Request coursework, notes, etc. in order to stay as up-to-date in each class as possible.
3) Submit coursework as possible through e-mail or Schreiner One while out of class.
4) Communicate with your academic advisor by e-mail or telephone, letting the advisor know which—if any—faculty have not responded to your e-mails & whether this illness places you in jeopardy of successfully completing any courses.
5) Communicate with your academic advisor when your fever has broken for 24 hours that you are returning to your classes.

Health Clinic Instructions to help minimize your symptoms while you are recuperating from the flu:
- push your fluids to maintain hydration Rationale: When you are ill, you metabolize your bodily fluids and dehydrate more frequently. Drink lots of water, Gatorade, PowerAde, juice, etc. (avoid caffeinated beverages as these tend to dehydrate you) (avoid milk products as this increase mucous & sputum production) Warm or hot beverages usually cause less coughing. Hot tea with honey & lemon will soothe & may help heal your throat more quickly as honey is loaded with antioxidants. You can just take a couple of teaspoons of honey at any time! Recent studies indicate honey may help decrease cough. Rationale: The faster your throat heals, the faster the cough goes away.
- take ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) for fever, headache & discomfort, one tablet 4 times per day (mealtime and bedtime). If one tablet does not control the fever, headache or discomfort you may take two as directed on package (if you are allergic to ibuprofen, substitute Tylenol, one tablet 4 times per day as instructed above). When you have had no fever for 24 hours without fever reducing medications & you no longer are coughing, you may return to class, work & or sports.
- take Claritin D 24 (generic is fine) once per day to help shrink down your swollen membranes - throat, tonsils and lymph nodes, etc. and dry up your drainage. (do not take if allergic to pseudophedrine HCL or loratidine)
- take Mucinex DM two times per day to help your body thin & remove respiratory mucous. Rationale: Stagnant mucous provides more fuel for infection. (do not take if allergic to guaifenesen or dextromethorphan)
- gargle frequently with salt water (mix ¼ tsp salt to ½ cup water & swish & gargle, to bathe your throat with salt water). Do not swallow.
- take Benadryl 25mg at night (capsule or tablet form) (diphenhydramine HCl is generic name) If experiencing drainage that is increasing cough at night, Benadryl will also allow you to sleep better (do not take if allergic to diphenydramine HCL).
- Breath steam from a shower for 10-15 min. to loosen phlegm.
- Take Hall’s mentholyptus cough lozenges – 1 lozenge 4 times per day.
Rationale: Difficulty breathing may warrant additional medical treatment. Do not e-mail.

What are considered severe symptoms for Adults? Health and Wellness Influenza
- Difficulty breathing
- Purple or blue discoloration of the lips
- Vomiting and unable to keep liquids down
- Signs of dehydration such as dizziness when standing, absence of urination, dry cracked lips, or fatigue
- Seizures or uncontrolled convulsions
- Loss of consciousness
- Alteration in thinking