Influenza (Flu)

Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk of serious flu complications. Common symptoms of the flu include:

  • Fever
  • Body aches
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat

 

2017-2018 Flu Season

Most of the United States continues to see widespread flu activity caused by influenza A (H3N2), a type of the flu that has been associated with more severe illness.

Due to a high demand for flu vaccine, Stamps Health Services has given its entire supply of flu vaccine and the vaccine is no longer available in our clinics or pharmacy. ​However, you can use CDC's Flu Vaccine Finder tool to find a convenient spot to get your flu shot. There is still time to get your flu shot, the best protection against the flu. While the shot doesn’t protect against all types of flu, it will prevent you from becoming seriously ill helping you get back to school, work, and your activities sooner.

Other ways to protect yourself and others include:

  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick with the flu. If you have the flu, limit your contact with others as much as possible and stay home until you are fever free for at least 24 hours.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze or cough. If you do not have a tissue, sneeze into crook of your elbow so you do not get the germs on your hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth – germs spread easily this way.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects such as laptops and cell phones that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.

If you think you have the flu, stay home until you are symptom free for at least 24 hours and keep hydrated by drinking water or sports drinks. Antiviral medications, such as Tamiflu®, can help shorten the duration of symptoms if started early enough. A healthcare professional can determine if these types of medications are right for you. If you need to see a healthcare professional, contact Stamps Health Services for an appointment (404-894-1420).

Flu Vaccine Finder

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the flu shot work?
Flu vaccines cause your body to develop antibodies to the flu about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine – some vaccine protect against three strains (trivalent) and some protect against 4 strains (quadrivalent).

Who should get the flu shot?
Everyone 6 months of age or older should get the flu vaccine every season.

Why do I need to get a flu shot every flu season?
There are two main reasons. First, your body’s immune response to vaccination declines over time, so getting your shot each year helps provide you with optimal protection. Second, flu viruses that circulate change every season, the vaccine is reformulated each season.

I am a healthy person, do I really need the flu shot?
Yes. Getting vaccinated not only helps protect you from the flu virus, bu also helps protect those around you, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, like babies and young children, older people, and people with certain chronic health conditions. 

I heard the flu shot gives you the flu, is that true?
No. The flu shot CANNOT give you the flu. However there are mild and short-lasting side effects such as soreness, redness or swelling where the vaccine was given, a low grade fever, and aches are common.

Treating the Flu

If you have the flu, there are a number of things you can do to help your body recover.

  1.  Stay home to prevent spreading the infection to others. For students living on campus, consider going home to your permanent residence if possible. It is safe to return to work and school once you have been without fever for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications, such as Tylenol or Advil.
  2. Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing. Wash your hands after sneezing or coughing. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer. 
  3. Get extra rest.
  4. Drink lots of fluids - water or sports drinks.
  5. Take medications to relieve your symptoms, including acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil) for fever and body aches, decongestant for nasal congestion, and a cough suppressant if you have a cough.
  6. Tamiflu, an antiviral medication, can be used to treat the flu. On average, it shortens the duration of symptoms by one day. It does have some side effects, such as nausea. It is currently recommended for individuals who have increased risk for complications. Most Georgia Tech students are not considered at risk for flu complications. 

Who is at risk for complications from the flu?

  • Persons of any age with certain chronic medical conditions including asthma, diabetes, immune suppression, heart, lung, liver or kidnes disease, or morbid obesity
  • Pregnant women
  • Adults aged 65 years or older
  • Children younger than 5 years old

When should I seek medical treatment?
You should seek medical treatment if you experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Significant shortness so breath or breathing problems
  • Confusion, change in level of consciousness, or inability to think normally
  • Sudden or severe dizziness or fainting
  • Chest discomfort or abdominal discomfort
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Pain in the throat severe enough to prevent the intake of fluids by mouth
  • Initial improvement of symptoms followed by worsening cough