Influenza has hit Indiana early and hard this winter, says Nick Molchan, administrator of the St. Joseph County Health Department.
The good news is that the Notre Dame Wellness Center still has plenty of vaccine available—and it’s not too late to get a flu shot.
It takes about two weeks to develop immunity after receiving the vaccine, but flu season is expected to extend through May. The vaccine is recommended for everyone age 6 months and older.
Benefit-eligible faculty, staff and their dependents may contact the Wellness Center at 634-WELL (9355) to schedule an appointment.
To help prevent the spread of flu, wash your hands frequently and cover your cough—cough into the crook of your sleeve, or cover your cough with tissue, then discard the tissue appropriately. When soap and water is not available, use hand sanitizer.
Symptoms of flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, chills, headache, fatigue and vomiting.
If you do catch the flu, stay home to avoid infecting others.
Treating the flu:
• Get plenty of rest
• Drink clear fluids such as water, broth, sports beverages or electrolyte drinks to stay hydrated
• Fever and aches can be treated with pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Read labels and dosing instructions carefully. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is an ingredient in many over-the-counter medications—unintentional overdoses of the drug can lead to stomach bleeding or liver failure.
• Place a cool, damp washcloth on your forehead, arms and legs to reduce discomfort from fever
• A humidifier or warm shower can make breathing easier
• Gargle with salt water to soothe a sore throat
• Anti-viral medications such as Tamiflu have limited use and are not cures. They must be administered within 48 hours of the onset of flu symptoms to decrease the length and severity of the illness
Seek care at an emergency room if you experience severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness, confusion or severe or persistent vomiting.