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 an increased risk of complications from the flu. Common symptoms of the flu include:
- Body aches
- Sore throat
The best way to prevent flu illness is by getting vaccinated every year.
Students may get their flu shot through any of the methods below.
- Flu shots can be received during a physical/sick visit to Primary Care.
|Student Walk-In Flu Clinic Dates||Faculty/Staff Flu Shots|
Treating the Flu
If you have the flu, there are a number of things you can do to help your body recover.
- 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.
- 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.
- Get extra rest.
- Drink lots of fluids – water or sports drinks.
- 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.
- 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
Is it the flu or a cold?
The flu and common cold are both respiratory illnesses but are caused by different viruses. The illness have similar symptoms so it is sometimes difficult to tell the difference by symptoms alone. The chart below can help you determine what might be making you feel sick.
|Fever||Usual, lasts 3 to 4 days||Rare|
|Aches||Usual, often severe||Slight|
|Chest discomfort, cough||Common, can be severe||Mild to moderate, hacking cough|
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, but 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.