Influenza Season ahead


Empower. Believe. Become.

In the United States, influenza (flu) viruses are most common during the fall and winter months. Typically, the SHWC receives our shipment of the flu vaccine in late September or early October.  Flu vaccines are not available when it is not flu season, such as during the summer months.  Influenza activity often begins to increase in October and November. Most of the time flu activity peaks between December and February and can last as late as May.

To help reduce the spread of flu and protect yourself, we urge you to review the health information below in addition to the CDC's guidelines.  The SHWC is committed to minimizing the transmission of the flu among the campus community.  There will be an annual flu drive during early fall months.  The dates will be announced upon notification of our flu vaccine arrival. 

If you develop symptoms of influenza-like illness, avoid contact with others: stay home from class, work, and public places. You may contact us by telephone, with any questions, concerns or to be seen in our clinic.  If you must stay home from class due to the flu and will need a note for class, you must be seen in our clinic for a visit. See our Medical Excuses Policy for further information.

People with egg allergies can receive any licensed, recommended age-appropriate influenza vaccine and no longer have to be monitored for 30 minutes after receiving the vaccine.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Influenza (also called Flu)?
    The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.
  • What is the difference between a cold and the flu?

    Please click the link below to read about the differences between a cold and the flu: Cold Versus Flu | CDC

  • Signs and Symptoms of Flu

    People who have the flu often feel some or all of these signs and symptoms that usually start suddenly, not gradually:

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

    *Not everyone with flu will have a fever.

  • What should I do if I have flu-like symptoms?
    • Avoid contact with others: stay home from class, work, and public places.
      • Isolating yourself if you have influenza-like illness protects others in the community, especially those at higher risk for influenza complications. 
      • The current recommendation from the CDC is that you should remain isolated until at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever, or signs of a fever, without the use of fever-reducing medicines.
    • Contact Student Health Service by telephone at 404.756.1241. Student Health will provide guidance about treating influenza-like illness and answer questions.
    • Contact your instructors and, if you have a job on campus, your supervisor and inform them.
  • Is there a medication I can take to treat the flu?

    Yes there is—it’s called Tamiflu. The dose for Tamiflu is 75 mg, and it is taken twice a day for 5 days. It is an antiviral medication that does not cure the flu, but slows it down and can shorten the number of days you feel sick compared to if you don’t take it. You need a prescription for Tamiflu as it is not an over the counter medication.

    • For Tamiflu to be most effective, it must be prescribed during the first 72 hours of symptoms. If you think you have the flu, get to see a medical provider as soon as you have symptoms. The earlier you detect it, the sooner you can be treated and on your way to feeling better!
    • Other things you can do at home to treat the flu:
      • Get plenty of rest and sleep
      • Drink fluids – about 1-2 liters of water daily to make up for the losses with illness
      • Ibuprofen or Motrin –400mg to 800 mg, up to 3 times a day with meals as needed to help keep down fevers, inflammation, and body aches
      • Tylenol – 500 mg to 650 mg, up to 3 times a day as need will help keep down fevers, but isn’t as good as Ibuprofen for inflammation and body aches
    • Seek emergency medical care if you or someone you know is having any of the following symptoms during a flu-like illness, which could be a warning sign of more serious problems:
      • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
      • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
      • Sudden dizziness
      • Confusion
      • Severe or persistent vomiting 
  • How do I know if I am at risk for complications from the flu?

    According to the CDC, groups at higher risk of complications from flu include: children younger than age 5; people age 65 or older; children and adolescents (younger than age 18) who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy and who might be at risk for experiencing Reye’s syndrome after flu virus infection; pregnant women; adults and children who have asthma, other chronic pulmonary, cardiovascular, hepatic, hematological, neurologic, neuromuscular, or metabolic disorders such as diabetes; and adults and children with immunosuppression (including immunosuppression caused by medications or by HIV). Adults age 65 and older, however, appear to be at lower risk of 2009 H1N1 infection than younger people. However, they are at increased risk of having a severe illness if they do get sick. Anyone at higher risk of complications who develops flu-like symptoms should contact their health care provider immediately.

  • What can I do to help protect myself and prevent the spread of flu?
    • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. When a tissue is unavailable, cover coughs or sneezes with your elbow or shoulder instead of your hands.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
    • Monitor yourself for the symptoms of influenza-like illness, which include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue. 

    Primary Prevention:   Hand washing is recommended to prevent the spread of any germs. Get your annual FLU vaccine! A different vaccine is made every year because strains of the virus change from year to year.

  • How does Flu Spread?

    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 also 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.

  • When is the Period of Contagiousness?

    You may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Although people with the flu are most contagious in the first 3-4 days after their illness begins, some otherwise healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Some people, especially young children and people with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others with flu viruses for an even longer time.

  • Why should people get vaccinated against the flu?

    Influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently, but millions of people get the flu every year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized and thousands or tens of thousands of people die from flu-related causes every year according to CDC’s statistics. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others. CDC estimates that flu-related hospitalizations since 2010 ranged from 140,000 to 710,000 annually, while flu-related deaths are estimated to have ranged from 12,000 to 56,000 annually. During flu season, flu viruses circulate at higher levels in the U.S. population. An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to reduce your risk of getting sick with seasonal flu and spreading it to others. When more people get vaccinated against the flu, less flu can spread through that community.

    The effectiveness of seasonal influenza vaccine can vary by season and has generally been higher against influenza A (H1N1) and B viruses than against A (H3N2) viruses.  During the 2017- 2018 season, influenza A (H3N2) viruses predominated but other influenza viruses were also circulating.  Based on CDC data from children and adults with acute respiratory illness enrolled during November 2, 2017- February 3, 2018, the overall estimated effectiveness of the 2017-2018 seasonal influenza vaccine for preventing medically attended, confirmed influenza virus infection was 36%.

  • How do flu vaccines work?

    Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against flu illness.

    Seasonal flu vaccines are designed to protect against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. All flu vaccines in the United States are “quadrivalent” vaccines, which means they protect against four different flu viruses: an influenza A(H1N1) virus, an influenza A(H3N2) virus, and two influenza B viruses.