University of St. Thomas Health Services reports a sharp increase in influenza cases this week. A total of six students have been diagnosed with influenza A over the past four days. Symptoms include high fever, shaking chills, body aches, fatigue, sore throat and headache.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that students who have influenza, or influenza-like symptoms, self-isolate until at least 24 hours after they are free of a fever of greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit without the use of fever-reducing medications.
The CDC recommends rapid flu treatment with antiviral drugs for people at high risk of serious flu complications. People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women and people with certain chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes or health and lung disease.
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 one day before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after becoming sick. Some people, especially children and people with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others for an even longer time.
The most important first step in preventing the flu is to get a flu shot. If students, faculty or staff have not yet received a flu vaccination, flu shots are available at Health Services, (651) 962-6750, in St. Paul and Minneapolis.
Recommendations for staying healthy include:
- Get a flu shot.
- Frequent hand washing with soap or hand sanitizer.
- Practice good health habits, including getting good sleep, nutrition and hydration.
- Avoiding contact with sick people when possible.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth.
- Cover nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Stay home if you are sick.