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flu information center

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To keep the Santa Rosa Junior College community informed about influenza, the Sonoma County Junior College District takes steps to protect the health and welfare of our college community, including providing information on this website. Be sure to check back periodically for updates and links to additional online resources.

Seasonal Influenza: The Disease

Flu is a serious contagious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes death. The symptoms of the flu may include:

  • Fever (Temperature > 100 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches, fatigue
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Chills
  • Possibly diarrhea and vomiting

People with the flu usually have a fever for 2 – 5 days. This is different than fever caused by other upper-respiratory viruses, which usually resolve after 24-48 hours. Most people with the flu have fever and muscle aches, and some people also have cold-like symptoms (runny nose, sore throat). Flu symptoms usually improve over 2 – 5 days, although the illness may last for a week or more. Weakness and fatigue may persist for several weeks.

Contagious Period

People infected with flu shed virus and may be able to infect others from 1 day before getting sick to about 5-7 days after getting sick. This can be longer in some people, especially children and people with weakened immune systems. This means that 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. If you are sick with flu-like symptoms, stay at home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever reducing medicine. (Please see instructions for students, below).

Flu is highly contagious through airborne respiratory droplets. It is the responsibility of faculty to ensure a safe and healthy environment in the classroom for everyone; therefore instructors have the legal authority to dismiss students from the classroom when contagious illness is apparent.

Keeping Yourself Healthy

A flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses.

  • While there are many different flu viruses, the flu vaccine protects against the three viruses that research indicates will be most common.
  • The 2013-2014 vaccine will protect against H1N1, Infuenza A and B viruses.
  • Everyone 6 months of age and older should get vaccinated against the flu each year.
  • Vaccination of high risk persons is especially important to decrease their risk of severe flu illness. Vaccination also is important for health care workers, and those who live with or care for high risk people to keep from spreading flu to high risk people.
  • Children younger than 6 months are at high risk of serious flu illness, but are too young to be vaccinated. People who care for or live with them should be vaccinated to protect these babies.

Take everyday actions to help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses.

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Stay home if you are sick to avoid spreading flu to others.
  • Manage your stress: get enough sleep, eat healthy foods, and exercise.

Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.

  • If you get the flu, antiviral drugs may be indicated if you are in a high risk group. These drugs can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick.
  • Antiviral drugs (Tamiflu) work best when started in the first 2 days of symptoms to treat people who are very sick (such as those who are hospitalized) or people who are at increased risk of severe flu illness. This includes women who are pregnant and individuals with asthma, diabetes and other diseases causing immune suppression. Contact your health provider immediately if you have a chronic health condition and think you have the flu.

About Flu Vaccines

Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine. Flu vaccination takes place each year from Fall into Spring.

Please visit www.flu.gov/individualfamily/vaccination/locator.html to find vaccine resources in your local community. If you are having any trouble locating the vaccine, call Student Health Services at 527-4445 for suggestions.

Keeping Our College Community Healthy

When students and employees are sick with influenza-like illness at the College, in classrooms, workplaces, or at public gatherings, they need encouragement and direction to go home to take care of themselves. They should then call their health-care provider to see if they could benefit from antiviral medications. Students may call Student Health Services at 527-4445 or a Sonoma County Community Clinic if they do not have an established health-care provider. A list of clinics can be found at www.santarosa.edu/for_students/student-services/student-health-services/community-resources/pdf/soco-healthcare-physical-exam-resources.pdf

Instructions For Students Exhibiting Symptoms of Influenza-like Illness

The symptoms of the flu may include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches, fatigue
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Chills
  • Possibly diarrhea and vomiting

Flu is highly contagious through airborne respiratory droplets. It is the responsibility of faculty to ensure a safe and healthy environment in the classroom for everyone; therefore instructors have the legal authority to dismiss students from the classroom when contagious illness is apparent.

Instructions For Students Exhibiting Symptoms of Influenza-like Illness

  • At the first sign of illness, isolate yourself at home, do not come to classes, and, if you are at school, go home immediately.
  • Call your personal health-care provider or Student Health Services (527-4445) for a phone consultation regarding a flu-like illness. Typically, going into a health-care facility is not advisable unless you are in a high risk category for complications and may need antiviral medication. High-risk categories currently include pregnancy, patients with chronic medical conditions, those with a compromised immune system, and those less than 5 years old or more than 65 years old. Testing for the flu is not currently being done in settings outside the hospital, as this does not change the treatment plan.
  • Don't forget to check your syllabus for attendance and make up policies. We encourage you to communicate with your instructor as soon as possible.
  • Notify ALL of your instructors by e-mail or telephone to let them know you are sick with influenza-like illness and when your symptoms began. Receive direction from your instructors on how you may be able to meet any class requirements you miss during your anticipated absence.
  • Home self-care of this illness includes Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen for headache, fever, and body aches. Monitor your fever with a thermometer. Drink clear fluids throughout the day. If you have a cough that is unrelieved with over the counter cough remedies or signs of severe illness, contact your health-care provider.
  • Stay home from work, school, travel, shopping, social events, and public gatherings.
  • If you are sick with flu-like symptoms, stay at home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever reducing medicine.
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