Your roommate has been diagnosed with flu. What can you do to keep from getting sick yourself?

First, the symptoms of influenza are

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Muscle/joint aches
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting/diarrhea (sometimes)

Things that can help you stay well

  • Definitely useful:
    • Stay away from your roommate as much as possible (but you may need to bring them food or class work).
    • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand cleaner, such as Purell.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • • Probably useful:
    • Wear a surgical mask while in your room or apartment (available at pharmacies).
    • Use Lysol to disinfect any surfaces your roommate touches.

Preventive medications

  • It is not too late for the Flu Vaccine which is the BEST prevention method of influenza.
    • There is a limited supply of doses available at the Student Health Service for $20.00 per immunization.
  • Taking Prophylaxis may help prevent influenza if you are around others that are sick.
    • Dosing: One capsule once daily for 7-10 days for "close contacts" (ex. roommates, co-workers) of individuals with active symptoms.
  • Taking Tamiflu (pills) or Relenza (inhaled spray) may help prevent influenza if you have been exposed, but only if you have certain high risk conditions. (See High Risk Groups on the Flu Information page)
    • Dosing: One capsule twice daily if diagnosed with influenza within 48 hours of symptoms (may lessen severity of influenza symptoms and possibly decrease illness duration by 24 hours).
  • The Medications listed above:
    • Must be taken for 7-10 days to prevent infection.
    • May help lessen severity of influenza symptoms and possibly decrease illness duration.
    • Require a prescription.
    • Side effects include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting or dizziness, each less than 10% of the time.

Additional important points

  • Your roommate is no longer contagious when their fever has been gone (below 100°F or 38°C) for 24 hours, without the use of ibuprofen (e.g. Motrin, Advil), naproxen (e.g. Aleve) or acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol).
  • If your roommate is getting sicker, encourage them to contact or return to the Student Health Service (406-265-3599) or go to the Emergency Room at Northern Montana Hospital.
  • If you become ill with the symptoms described above and are a MSU-N student, call or visit the Student Health Service for recommendations. If you are not a MSU-N student, contact your personal physician or a medical facility.