Flu season

To: UCSC Students

From: Drew Malloy, MD, Medical Director, UCSC Student Health Center

Flu season is here. On campus and in the county we are seeing high levels of flu.

Your best protection against the flu is to get a flu shot. Students can get a flu shot at the Student Health Center pharmacy or at a pharmacy downtown. Faculty and staff should get their flu shot from their private provider or at an off campus pharmacy.

It is not too late to get a flu shot. This year the flu shot is well matched to circulating flu. This means that the vaccination can prevent or moderate the flu.

Other ways to protect yourself include frequent handwashing and covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze.

Typical flu is characterized by the abrupt onset of fever, body aches, headache and mild cold symptoms like a dry cough or runny nose. The fever can be quite high. You can read more about the flu at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/index.htm

If you have fever over 99.9 F, you should isolate yourself. This means staying in your home until you have gone twenty-four hours without fever without using Tylenol or Ibuprofen. Students can use the Buddy Meal system to get food from the dining hall if you are living on campus.

Send your professors an email explaining that you have isolated yourself for the health of the community. By ruling of the Academic Senate your professors should not require a written excuse for missed classes. It is always best to inform your professor of any absence using email.

Treat your fever with acetaminophen (Tylenol), 325mg, two every 4 to 6 hours or Ibuprofen, 200mg, two every six to eight hours. Get plenty of fluids, lots of rest and don’t forget to eat.

Fever from flu typically lasts 3 to 7 days. If you have more than 3 days of fever, feel particularly ill, confused, or have difficulty breathing, you should be evaluated at the Student Health Center or another medical facility.

There is a day of recovery for every day of flu. Expect to tire more easily in the week following the fever and to have a dry cough. A cough which makes you short of breath is a concern. It is also a concern if your fever goes away and comes back. If you have these symptoms, seek medical consultation.

The Student Health Center is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 to 4:30. It is open to any registered student. You can call our Advice Nurse for information at 831-459-2591. Check out our website for more information and where to go if we are closed: healthcenter.ucsc.edu