Tuesday, December 11th, 2018

Working on Wellness: Don’t let the flu get to you

Posted on October 03, 2018 in Perspectives
By USM Free Press

Photo courtesy of Lisa Belanger

By Lisa Belanger, Director of Health Services

Recognize this guy? He is this year’s version of the flu bug and he has decided to make an early appearance in Maine. Make no mistake, he’s a nasty critter that leaves his victims feeling pretty wiped-out with fever, body aches, sore throat, runny nose, cough and headache. How do you protect yourself from this foul and filthy flu? Get yourself vaccinated.

Health & Counseling Services, in partnership with the School of Nursing, is offering our yearly flu vaccination clinics for students, faculty and staff. For the upcoming schedule, view the table attached.

Please remember to bring your insurance card with you. If you are uninsured the cost is $15.

And if it’s too late, you’re now feeling sick and suspect you have been visited by the flu, here’s what we recommend:

  • Stay home or in your dorm room while you are sick, until you are fever-free for a full 24 hours without taking fever-reducing medicine.
  • Get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids.
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow or into a tissue. Throw the tissue away.
  • Wash your hands often. Keep hand sanitizer available.
  • Although most people can stay home to recover without seeing a health care provider, it is possible for healthy people to develop severe illness from the flu. Seek medical attention for:
    • Dehydration
    • Trouble breathing
    • Getting better, then suddenly getting a lot worse
    • Any major change in condition

Use of prescribed antiviral medications such as Tamiflu within the first two days of illness is an option for students deemed at higher risk of complications such as those with chronic health conditions. The medication is not a cure but may shorten the time you are sick by one to two days. In general, taking Tamiflu as a preventive measure after exposure to someone who has the flu is not typically recommended but each case would be handled individually.

Health & Counseling Services would be happy to see students needing medical attention during our regular business hours at our Gorham location at 156 Upton Hall or at our new location in Portland at 8 Sullivan.

For more information or to make an appointment, please contact Health & Counseling Services at 780-5411 or go to our website at https://usm.maine.edu/uhcs

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