More About Colds and Seasonal Flu
- Seasonal flu is most common from November through April or May.
- Colds are caused by one of more than 200 different viruses.
The average adult gets two to four colds per year; the average child, between five and nine.
- You can’t get seasonal flu from a vaccination.
Seasonal flu vaccine takes two weeks to be effective.
- Earlier is better, but mid-season isn't too late to be vaccinated against seasonal flu.
- Cold symptoms include sneezing; runny nose or congestion; watery eyes; scratchy throat; cough; mild body aches; headache; and low-grade fever (less than 102°).
- Seasonal flu symptoms are like a cold, but much worse. They include severe body aches, fatigue, fever, chills, headache and cough.
Prescription flu medications can help, but have to be started within 48 hours of the first symptoms.
Colds generally get better in less than a week, but symptoms can last for up to two weeks.
Avoiding colds and flu
Students have lots of opportunity for exposure to colds and flu. Close living quarters, classes and group activities bring together people who may be ill. Here are some tips for avoiding infection:
Use a tissue to cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue away once you use it.
Wash your hands often, using soap and water. If you’re away from a sink, use alcohol-based hand sanitizers. The small sizes are easy to carry in a pocket, purse or backpack.
Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth; germs spread easily this way.
Keep things like drinking glasses, bottles and utensils to yourself. Avoid large crowds whenever possible.
Eat well, drink water, get plenty of sleep and be physically active. Alcohol, drugs and smoking can weaken your immune system.
Keep your distance
Avoid prolonged contact with people who are ill, or those who've recently had a cold or the flu.
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Check out these treatment tips from UHS.