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Influenza (Flu)

Influenza (flu A and B) is a seasonal respiratory virus that infects the nose, throat, and lungs causing serious disease, hospitalization and sometimes even death each year. Flu illness also results in days of feeling bad, missing work/school and missing campus events. The first and most important step in preventing flu is to get a flu vaccine each year. 

How Flu Spreads

Most experts believe that flu spreads by tiny droplets during coughing, sneezing, or talking. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Sometimes, you might get flu by touching a surface or object that has virus on it and then touching your own mouth, nose, or your eyes. 

fight flu_CDC

Contagiousness to Symptom Onset

You may be able to spread flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. 

  • People with flu are most contagious in the first 3-4 days after their illness begins.
  • Some may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. 
  • On average, it takes about 2 days to start having symptoms after being infected with flu.

Flu Signs & Symptoms

Flu signs and symptoms usually come on suddenly. People who are sick with flu often feel some or all of these symptoms: 

  • Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

*It's important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

If you Think you are Experiencing Symptoms

  • Most people with flu have mild illness and do not need medical care or antiviral drugs
  • Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing 
  • Use tissues to contain respiratory secretions and, after use, dispose of them
  • Perform hand hygiene (e.g., handwashing with non-antimicrobial soap and water, and alcohol-based hand rub if soap and water are not available) 
  • If you get sick with flu symptoms, in most cases, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people except to get medical care
  • If you cannot stay home when acutely ill, consider wearing a mask in public places when there is close contact with others

If you have symptoms of flu and are in a high-risk group(people with certain medical conditions) or are very sick or worried about your illness, contact your health care provider or call UHS at 513-556-2564 for an appointment. 

* Note: Please follow the UC Public Health COVID-19 campus Isolation and Exposure guidelines when ill.

Get Vaccinated! 

An annual seasonal flu vaccine has been shown to have many benefits including reducing the risk of flu illnesses, hospitalizations and even the risk of flu-related death. While some people who get a flu vaccine may still get sick with influenza, flu vaccination has been shown to reduce severity of illness. Call UHS at 513-556-2564 for a Flu vaccine appointment.

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University Health Services

Richard E. Lindner Center
2751 O'Varsity Way, 3rd Floor
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0010

Mail Location: 0010
Phone: 513-556-2564
Fax: 513-556-1337