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Central Washington University

CWU Students, Staff Need to Prepare for Flu Season

After influenza viruses enter the human body they attach to cells in the nasal passages and throat. Nobody wants to start out the new year with the flu. Even though winter quarter has just begun at Central Washington University, if you're sick, it's a good idea to stay home. Your professors, classmates and co-workers will thank you for it.

The 2013-14 flu season is in full swing, but it's not too late to get vaccinated for the flu. Flu activity is expected to increase in the next few weeks and February is the peak month for flu activity.

"Get your flu shot," recommends Dr. Jack Horsley, director of medical services for the CWU Student Medical and Counseling Clinic.

CWU students may get a flu shot at the Student Medical and Counseling Clinic. To make an appointment, call 509-963-1881. The cost is $20 with a CWU student ID.

Faculty and staff who haven’t already received a flu shot should get vaccinated through their health care provider. Vaccines also are available at local pharmacies and at the Kittitas County Public Health Department. This season’s flu vaccine is designed to protect against three to four influenza viruses, including pH1N1.

Horsley reminds members of the campus community to wash their hands and avoid touching their faces to prevent getting and spreading the flu.

The flu virus mainly spreads by droplets from a cough or sneeze that may land in other people's mouths or noses up to six feet away.

To stay healthy, wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Six confirmed flu-associated deaths have been reported to the Washington State Department of Health. The H1N1 virus is the most common circulating strain, putting young and middle-aged adults at particularly high risk.

Do you think you have the flu?

The flu usually comes on suddenly and can be accompanied by some or all of the following: Fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue, vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults).

Adults may be able to infect other people beginning a day before symptoms develop and up to seven days after they become sick. Children may pass the flu on for longer than seven days.

Media Contact: Barb Arnott, CWU Public Affairs, 509-963-2841, Barnott@cwu.edu

Photo courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention