According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. Influenza can cause mild to severe illness. Serious outcomes of flu infection can result in hospitalization or death. Some people—such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions—are at high risk of serious flu complications. Most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by tiny droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze, or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.
Preventing Seasonal Flu
The best way to help prevent flu is by getting vaccinated each year. Flu vaccine has been shown to reduce flu-related illnesses and the risk of serious flu complications that can result in hospitalization or even death. The University Health Center currently is offering flu vaccine for students, and faculty, staff, and studnet can obtain the vaccine at flu shot clinics offered in different campus locations in October and November.
The CDC also recommends everyday preventive actions to help slow the spread of infections that cause respiratory (nose, throat, and lungs) illnesses, like flu. These actions include:
- Staying away from people who are sick;
- Covering coughs and sneezes;
- Frequent handwashing; and
- Wearing masks when sick with cough/cold symptoms.