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Flu Season Information

Monday, January 29, 2018
Dear Parents and Family,

As we enter another flu season, I wanted to share some useful information about how you can help keep our campus healthy. Please read the below guidance for steps your student can take to practice effective prevention and resources if they become ill. 

Influenza is a respiratory illness with sudden symptoms that can include high fever, body aches, headache and cough. While there is no cause for alarm, the CDC and Maryland Department of Health and Hygiene are reporting widespread flu in the state and we expect a busy flu season. 

Your student should do the following…

  • Get a flu shot, it is not too late.  The UHC has a very limited supply of flu vaccine and it is in short supply in general.  Students can call to make an appointment for a flu vaccine while the supply lasts (301-314-8180).
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water or alcohol based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid those who are ill, if possible.
  • Clean high touch surfaces around the resident hall room with anti-bacterial cleaner (bleach wipes are very effective).
  • Cough into a sleeve or a tissue, not directly into the hands, and wash hands immediately.
  • Avoid touching your face when you are ill and when healthy; this spreads germs!
  • Avoid sharing food, utensils, cups, and water bottles.
The treatment for influenza, for otherwise healthy people, is “supportive”-- meaning that our recommendations will often be that you rest, drink plenty of fluids and take fever reducing medicine if you are diagnosed with the flu.  Anti-viral medications (Tamiflu® and Relenza®) are generally not recommended for healthy people with the flu.  In addition, most people who are infected with these illnesses will not require medical care. This means:
  • If your student gets sick with a fever, they should avoid crowded places like dining halls, classrooms, restaurants and the Recreation Center to prevent spreading the illness to others.  They should continue to do this until you have not had a fever for 24 hours.
  • If home is within reasonable driving distance, we recommend that students head home to recover.
  • If your student remains on campus when they are sick, they should recruit a friend (a “Flu Buddy”) to help care for them and bring them food when you are sick.  (http://dining.umd.edu/contact/sick-meals/)
  • Take fever reducers like acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve) for fever. If a fever persists for more than 3 days in spite of fever reducers, please seek care.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Avoid Emergency Rooms and Urgent Care Centers unless truly sick as these locations will be crowded with many sick people with influenza.  This may put your student at risk of getting the flu.
For students, faculty and staff who have chronic medical problems (ex. asthma, diabetes, obesity), it is important to visit the UHC or your personal physician within 48 hours of developing flu symptoms.

More information can be found on the UHC website or on the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season-2017-2018.htm.

Stay well! The University Health Center is here to answer any questions you may have.
 
In Health,

David McBride, MD
Director
University of Maryland Health Center