Flu and other virus season is upon us again and I’m writing with some things to consider. We are seeing many ill patients (as is typical in the fall) with fevers and sick symptoms for a variety of reasons. In particular, we’re seeing patients with non-specific fever and gastrointestinal symptoms (diarrhea and vomiting), influenza-like illness and some scattered cases of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. The Health Center, Residential Facilities, Facilities Management and RecWell are working together to increase cleaning of high touch surfaces and restrooms around campus.
This is no cause for alarm, but it does give us the opportunity to practice effective prevention techniques for these types of illnesses:
Be a healthy Terp and get a flu shot! The UHC has plenty of flu vaccine available. Schedule an appointment for a flu shot today!
Wash your hands frequently and use the hand sanitizing stations that are located around campus.
Avoid those who are ill, if possible.
Clean high touch surfaces in your room with anti-bacterial cleaner (bleach wipes are very effective-follow the instructions on the packaging).
Cough into your sleeve or a tissue, not directly into your hands, and wash your hands immediately.
Avoid touching your face when you are ill and when healthy; this spreads germs!
Avoid sharing food, utensils, cups, and water bottles.
Avoid Emergency Rooms and Urgent Care Centers unless you are truly sick as these locations will be crowded with many sick people.
The treatment for influenza and many other viral illnesses, for otherwise healthy people, is “supportive”-- meaning that our recommendations will often be that you rest, drink plenty of fluids and take fever reducing medicine if you are diagnosed with the flu. Anti-viral medications (Tamiflu® and Relenza®) are generally not recommended for healthy people with the flu. In addition, most people who are infected with these illnesses will not require medical care. This means:
If you are sick, stay home and in bed. Avoid crowded places like dining halls, classrooms, restaurants and the Recreation Center to prevent spreading your illness to others. You should continue to do this until you have not had a fever for 24 hours.
If your home is within reasonable driving distance, we recommend that you go home to recover.
Take fever reducers like acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve) if you have a fever. If your fever persists for more than 3 days in spite of fever reducers, please seek care.
Drink plenty of fluids.
Contact the UHC at 301.314.8180 or send a message to your provider at myuhc.umd.edu for medical advice if you are unsure of what to do after reading this information.
For students, faculty and staff who have chronic medical problems (ex. asthma, diabetes, obesity), it is important to visit the UHC or your personal physician within 48 hours of developing flu symptoms.