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How to avoid the flu

What is the flu?

The flu is a very contagious disease of the respiratory (breathing) system.  The flu is easily passed from one person to another by coughing and sneezing.  It is usually very unpleasant, but for most people symptoms generally get better after 7-10 days.

The flu usually starts very suddenly with:

  • Fever (102-104 degrees) lasting 3-4 days
  • Headache
  • Severe muscle aches
  • General weakness/extreme fatigue

These symptoms are accompanied by:

  • Dry cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose

What should I do if I think I have the flu?

If you think you have the flu, stay home until your temperature is below 100 degrees for 24 hours without the use of fever lowering medications.

If you are a student and are experiencing the above symptoms, call Student Health Services (508) 999-8982 for an appointment.  You will be given an appointment and asked to don a face mask upon entering the Student Health Services office.

When should I see a doctor?

You should see a health care provider or go to an emergency room immediately if you have any of these serious manifestations of the flu:

  • Flu symptoms that are strong or that do not resolve within 7-10 days
  • Breathing that is fast, difficult, or painful
  • Bluish skin
  • Cough with yellow mucous
  • Getting sick again with fever and/or a worse cough after getting better
  • Not drinking enough fluids

How do I take care of myself if I have the flu?

  • Rest in bed
  • Drink lots of fluids
  • Take non-aspirin pain and fever relievers such as Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Advil (ibuprofen)
  • Stay home and avoid public activities until your temperature has been lower than 100 degrees for 24 hours without the use of fever lowering medicines
  • For extreme cases visit the emergency room as soon as possible

Missed classes

Please email your professors if you miss class due to flu. For the health of the entire community, professors are urged to accept a student’s self-report of the flu and not count missed classes due to flu against the total number of absences a student is allowed.  

How do I prevent getting the flu?

  • The best way is to get an annual flu shot. If you have not been vaccinated for the flu this year, get your flu shot as soon as possible
  • Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your eyes and mouth

How do I avoid spreading the flu to others?

  • Cover your mouth and nose (with your arm instead of your hand) when sneezing or coughing
  • Use paper tissues when wiping or blowing your nose and throw away after use
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and often
  • Don’t share towels, washcloths, linens
  • Avoid sharing drinks, food, utensils, lipstick, lip balm, or smoking materials
  • Avoid close physical contact with others; stay 6 feet from others

More information





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