Seasonal Influenza (Flu) Information and Prevention

Posted: February 6, 2018 at 4:11 pm

Dear Patriots,

We are experiencing one of the worst outbreaks of the flu in recent years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  The following information is intended to help you take action to protect your health and the health of your fellow Patriots.

The Flu:  Flu symptoms typically start suddenly and include moderate fever (~100° Fahrenheit), sore throat, stuffy nose, cough, headache, body aches, and/or fatigue.  Most people recover within a few days to two weeks; however, pregnant women and individuals with asthma, diabetes, heart disease, metabolic conditions, neurologic and neuromuscular disorders are at a higher risk of complications and should take greater precautions.  For additional information about the flu, visit the CDC Influenza Website.

Prevention: Seasonal influenza vaccines are available through personal health care providers and local pharmacies.  Use the Flu Finder Feature on the CDC Influenza Website to find the flu vaccine near you.

Protect yourself and others against the spread of the flu by exercising good personal hygiene and avoiding contact with others if you become ill:

  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze;
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth;
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick;
  • Stay home when you are sick and avoid public or social settings;
  • Practice good health habits: get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

Treatment: If you begin to experience flu-like symptoms, you should take acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol), get plenty of rest and drink clear fluids. Students can contact Student Health Services at 703-993-2831. Employees should contact their personal health care provider. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience complications such as chest pain, continuous high fever, dehydration or confusion.

Absences from Class or Work: Students with the flu should notify their instructors and remain at home or in their residence halls. Limit contact with others until 24 hours after symptoms subside. Residential students who remain in their residence halls during an illness may receive meals through Mason Dining’s Sick Meal Request process.

Employees with flu-like symptoms should notify their supervisor and remain home until 24 hours after symptoms abate. Faculty and supervisors are asked to use discretion with students and employees who become ill, including appropriate tolerance for absences and late assignments.

George Mason University will provide updates on this public health issue as needed. We wish everyone a safe, healthy, and rewarding semester.

Respectfully,

David Farris, PhD

Dr. Wagida Abdalla

Executive Director of Safety & Emergency Management

Director of Student Health Services