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Student Medical & Counseling Clinic

Flu News and Resources

FLU VACCINE • Self Care Instructions for Influenza • Prevention • Seek Medical Care if... • Self Care

Currently, the FLU (influenza) is at Central Washington University.


Flu Shots are available at the medical clinic now.  They are recommended for everyone.

Self Care Instructions for Influenza

Influenza (flu) is a viral respiratory infection. Flu viruses travel through the air in droplets when someone with the infection coughs, sneezes or talks. You can inhale the droplets directly, or you can pick up the germs from an object, such as a telephone or computer keyboard, and then transfer them to your eyes, nose or mouth.
The length can be as short as 5 days or as long as 3 or 4 weeks.
If you have had the illness just two or three years ago chances are that this attack will be relatively mild because you have partial immunity. If this is a strain of flu virus that is making its first appearance in the world, you and most others will be significantly more ill than with types that have made the rounds before.


  • Avoiding close contact to people who are ill or are coughing.
  • Good hand washing especially before eating.
  • The influenza vaccine, which has the three flu viruses judged by the Center of Disease Control to probably cause the most flu this year, is a good way to avoid the flu entirely or at least significantly reduce symptoms.. The best time to get the vaccine is in October or November in order to develop immunity before the “Flu Season” starts in earnest.
  • Antiviral medications, if taken within the first 48 hours of illness, can reduce the length of illness by a day or two and help prevent more serious problems.

Seek Medical Care if:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion
  • Production of large volumes of phlegm
  • Wheezing
  • Relapse of flu symptoms after 10 to 14 days or continued substantial illness after 10 days
  • Fever over 103 degrees for two days

Self Care

Usually you can take care of your own flu, provided you have none of the above symptoms which might mean more serious disease or complications.

Rest is the single most important point, and if you are substantially ill, this should be bed rest.

Headache, Muscle aches, Backache and Fever are best treated by use of Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin). Aspirin should not be used by people under 23 years of age. Follow the directions on the packaging for the amount and frequency of use. *It is a good idea to write down the day and time that you take the medication to insure that you won’t forget taking a medication and overdose yourself.

Food and Fluids: When fever is present, the body evaporates water at a much more rapid rate, hence the advice to drink lots of fluids (at least 12 cups or glasses a day). Food selection depends upon your appetite. Normal diet is appropriate if you feel hungry. If you are significantly ill, and have no appetite or are experiencing nausea, limit your intake to liquids such a beverages, jello or soup, or if tolerated, soft, bland foods.

Nasal Obstruction and Congestion can be treated by decongestants, oral and nasal, saline nose spray. Follow directions on the packaging regarding amount and frequency of use. These are available without prescription.

Cough mild or moderate, nonproductive is a natural part of influenza and may not require treatment. Gargling with salt water can help a cough. Commercial cough syrup with dexotrometrophan (1 – 1 ½ teaspoon every 3-4 hours) may be used.

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