Aaa-choo!!! Tips to Avoid the Flu

Issue Date: 
January 12, 2015

Flu season is in full swing and Pitt faculty, staff, and students are reminded that flu shots are available at the Student Health Clinic in Nordenberg Hall on a walk-in basis. Employees who subscribe to UPMC Health Plan insurance can receive the shot with no out-of-pocket cost.

Influenza spreads mainly through droplets in coughs, sneezes, or other “air-sharing,” such as close talking. Less commonly, the flu can spread through touching a surface contaminated with the virus and then touching your mouth, eyes, or nose.

The best ways to prevent spreading the flu are to wash or sanitize your hands often; stay home when you are sick; avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; cover your coughs and sneezes; and keep your distance from people who are ill.

Flu symptoms can include fatigue, muscle and body aches, sore throat, headache, runny or stuffy nose, fever or fever-like symptoms and/or chills, and vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children).

Most adults are contagious one day prior to developing symptoms and 5-7 days after symptoms surface. Karen Hacker, director of the Allegheny County Health Department, said that while this year’s flu vaccination is not a good match for the type A, H3N2 strain, it is effective against other flu strains—and does lessen the impacts of the H3N2 strain.