If You Are Sick With Influenza
If you belong to a high-risk group or develop any of the symptoms listed below while sick with the flu, you should seek medical care.
People at risk for complications of influenza include (CDC-2012):
Persons of any age with the following conditions:
- Chronic lung (including asthma), heart, kidney, liver, blood disorders (including sickle cell disease), neurologic, neuromuscular, or metabolic disorders (including diabetes mellitus)
- Impaired immune system, including that caused by medications like prednisone, or by HIV
- Pregnant women
- Persons younger than 19 years of age who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy
- Children younger than 5 years old, and particularly younger than 2 years old
- Adults 65 years of age and older
- Residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities
- American Indians/Alaska Natives
- Persons who are morbidly obese (BMI ≥ 40)
If you become sick with the flu and belong to one of these groups, students should come to the Student Health Service (9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. M-Th.) for further evaluation.
These symptoms could indicate a serious complication. Seek medical care as soon as possible if these occur:
- Fever over 102°F (39°C) that does not come down below 100°F (38°C) with fever reducing medicine
- Severe headache
- Stiff neck, unable to touch your chin to your chest
- Sudden dizziness
- Severe cough not helped by cough medicine
- Shortness of breath
- Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- Vomiting that prevents keeping down Gatorade, 7-Up, sweetened tea
- Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
Students may come to Student Health Service for care. After hours, go to Northern Montana Hospital Emergency Room.
Treating the Flu
- Taking Tamiflu (oseltamivir) 75mg caps
- Typically prescribed only for those in a high-risk group (see above)
- Available by prescription only.
- Dosing: one capsule twice daily if diagnosed with influenza within 48 hours of symptoms.
- This will lessen severity of influenza symptoms and possibly decrease illness duration by 24 hours.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Drink at least 2 liters each day of liquids such as non-diet 7-UP, Sprite, Gatorade, ginger ale, broth, tea with sugar (yes, soda pop is OK with a cold or flu).
- For runny nose and stuffy nose, try a decongestant like 12-Hour Sudafed (available without a prescription).
- For cough, try a cough syrup like Delsym (available without a prescription).
- To reduce fever and for symptom management, take ibuprofen (e.g. Motrin, Advil), naproxen (e.g. Aleve) or acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol) as directed on the bottle. Avoid aspirin.
- For vomiting, don't eat or drink anything until you have not vomited for 4 hours, then sip on liquids (see above avoid plain water as it can make vomiting worse) for 24 hours. If no further vomiting, begin eating mild foods like crackers, mashed potatoes, rice, and applesauce for 24 hours. Then resume your regular diet.
If your symptoms get worse, seek medical care. Students may call (406-265-3599) or visit the Student Health Service (9:00 AM-3:00 PM M-Th.). If after hours, go to the Northern Montana Hospital Emergency Room (406-265-2211).
Keep From Spreading the Flu to Others
- Stay at home or in your dorm room, avoiding work, school, and social gatherings until the fever has been below 100°F (38°C) for 24 hours (without needing fever-reducing medicine to keep the temperature down).
- Have meals delivered to you. Don't go to the cafeteria for meals!
- Cover your cough. Cough or sneeze into a tissue or, if necessary, into your upper arm. Dispose of the tissue immediately.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. If you are not near water, use an alcohol-based (60-95%) hand cleaner (such as Purell).
- If you have to go out, wear a surgical mask or try to stay at least six feet from other people
If you are feeling worse, or if you feel you need to be seen by a health care professional, Come to the Student Health Service (9:00 AM-3 PM M-Th.), or go to the Emergency Room at Northern Montana Hospital AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.