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Influenza (The Flu)

What is the Flu?

Influenza is a common, infectious respiratory disease that begins in your nose and throat. Human influenza, or the flu, is a respiratory infection caused by the influenza virus. Strains circulate every year, making people sick. Influenza typically starts with a headache, chills, and cough, followed rapidly by fever, loss of appetite, muscle aches and fatigue, running nose, sneezing, watery eyes, and throat irritation. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea may also occur.

(Adapted from PHAC)

Protect Yourself and Others from the Flu

  1. Take the time to get your flu vaccine. The Student Wellness Centre offers a flu shot clinic, or if you have missed the date, you can book a medical appointment.
  2. Take preventative actions to stop the spread of germs.

Flu Clinic

The Student Wellness Centre offers a flu shot clinic each year, once the new vaccine has been released by Public Health. The clinic is typically offered in late October or November. Please check back for the date and time.

You will need to bring the following to MUSC B101 to receive your flu vaccination:

  • Student ID
  • Health card

Preventative Actions

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. If you don’t have a tissue, cough into your upper sleeve.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.
  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, except to get medical care or for other necessities.
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.

Flu vs. Common Cold

The symptoms of the flu and the common cold can be very similar but, unlike a case of the common cold, the flu can lead to serious health problems like pneumonia. Use this chart to help determine if you have a cold or the flu.

Symptom Cold Flu
Fever Rare Common, high (102°F – 104°F or 39°– 40°C)
Starts suddenly, lasts 3 to 4 days
Not everyone with the flu gets a fever
General aches and pains Sometimes, mild Common, often severe
Muscle aches Sometimes, usually mild Often, can be severe
Feeling tired and weak Sometimes, mild Common, may last 2 to 3 weeks or more
Fatigue (extreme tiredness) Unusual Common, starts early
Sneezing Common Sometimes
Complications Can lead to sinus congestion or earache Can lead to pneumonia and respiratory failure, worsen a current chronic respiratory condition, be life-threatening
Chest discomfort and/or coughing Sometimes, mild to moderate Common, can become severe