The Influenza virus, most commonly known as the flu, is a seasonal respiratory infection which is similar to, but typically more severe than, the common cold. The flu season runs from the beginning of fall to the end of the winter months. Students, faculty, and staff can get sick with flu, and institutions may act as a “point of spread” that can easily spread flu to others as well as the larger community. The symptoms can include:
- Runny/stuffy nose
- Cough/sore throat
- Headache/body aches
If You Get Sick
CDC guidance recommends that, faculty, students, and staff with flu-like sickness should stay in their home or residence hall until at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever (100 degrees Fahrenheit or 37.8 degrees Celsius) or signs of a fever (have chills, feel very warm, have a flushed appearance, or are sweating). This should be determined without the use of fever-reducing medicines (any medicine that contains ibuprofen or acetaminophen).
Flu Prevention Tips
Here are a few tips to follow to lower your chances of catching the Flu:
- Get plenty of sleep. If your well rested your less likely to become infected with the Flu virus.
- Be strict about washing hands. Hands covered in germs spread colds and the flu. Make sure to scrub your hands well with soap or an alcohol-based hand rub for 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Get your flu shot. One of the best ways to avoid catching the flu is to get vaccinated against it.
Cleaning and Disinfecting During Flu Season
Cleaning and disinfecting are part of a broad approach to preventing infectious diseases in an educational environment. Most studies have shown that the flu virus can live and potentially infect a person for only 2 to 8 hours after being deposited on a surface. Flu viruses are relatively fragile, so follow your standard procedures for routine cleaning and disinfecting practices, they are sufficient to remove or kill them. Typically, this means daily sanitizing surfaces and objects that are touched often, such as desks, counter-tops, doorknobs, computer keyboards, hands-on learning items, faucet handles, phones, etc.