Influenza, “flu,” activity continues to increase and is widespread in all 50 states. The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by Influenza viruses, which can cause mild to severe illness.
The CDC estimates that so far this season there have been at least 9.7 million flu illnesses, 87,000 hospitalizations and 4,800 deaths from flu. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year. The season can last until May, so there is still time to get vaccinated.
Limited supplies of flu vaccinations are still available at the Student Stores Pharmacy and Campus Health Pharmacy for students, faculty and staff. Or, you can find a flu clinic off campus by going to flu.nc.gov.
Help prevent the spread of the flu on campus by recognizing the symptoms and staying at home. The flu spreads by coughing and sneezing and by touching infected surfaces. Someone with the flu can be infectious one day before symptoms and up to seven days after becoming ill.
Take actions to reduce the spread of germs:
- Stay home until 24 hours after your fever is gone, except to seek medical care.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and put your used tissue in a wastebasket.
- Cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve — not your hands — if you don’t have a tissue.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can be used if soap and water are not available.
- Stay healthy by getting adequate sleep, eating nutrient-dense foods and staying hydrated.
Learn more at Campus Health’s website and at flu.unc.edu.