Flu

What Do I Have?

Flu, or influenza, is a contagious infection caused by a variety of flu viruses. Flu viruses enter your body through your nose, eyes, or mouth. Everytime you touch your hand to one of these areas, you are possibly infecting yourself with a virus. These viruses can also be spread from touching infected surfaces, such as door knobs, utensils, and workout equipment.

Signs & Symptoms

Unfortunately, influenza illnesses and colds share many common symptoms. However, an influenza-like illness will usually present with a fever and often a cough and/or a sore throat. Influenza is usually characterized by chills, headaches, extreme fatigue and body aches, so much so that many report being unable to get out of bed. A loss of appetite is not uncommon with the flu.

  • Fever
  • Severe aches and pains in the joints and muscles and around the eyes
  • Generalized weakness
  • Warm, flushed skin and red, watery eyes
  • Headache
  • Dry cough
  • Sore throat and watery discharge from your nose

If you experience any of the following severe symptoms in addition to cold symptoms, call the Student Health Center, the clinician on call, or GERMS right away:

  • Severe pain or pressure in the chest
  • Severe headache
  • Difficulty breathing and shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Painful swallowing
  • Persistent fever

What do I do?

Prevention

  • Wash your hands for 30 seconds with soap and warm water.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze by using a tissue or your elbow. Dispose of tissues immediately after use.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth – areas where the virus can enter your body.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Treatment

  • Rest
  • Plenty of fluids
  • Antihistamines
  • Decongestants
  • Anti-inflammatory medicines

It is very important to recognize the difference between the cold and flu virus. Seeking treatment for the flu within the first 48 hours can reduce the length and severity your illness.

Resources

Student Health Center
Darnall Hall Ground Floor
To make an appt: (202) 687-2200

After hours clinician on-call: (202) 444-7243
http://studenthealth.georgetown.edu/medical-care

Georgetown Emergency Response Medical Service (GERMS)
Village C West 206
(202) 687-4357
www.georgetownems.org

References