Campus Life

Flu Update From Texas A&M Student Health Services

January 24, 2018

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By Martha C. Dannenbaum, M.D., director, Texas A&M University Student Health Services

The cold/flu season is upon us. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported widespread flu activity in all 50 states. These viral infections of the respiratory tract typically last 7-10 days affecting the throat, nose, airways, and lungs and are usually spread through touch rather than through the air.

There is no cure for a cold or influenza (flu) and antibiotics are ineffective against these viruses. Once infected, all you can do to feel better is to treat symptoms while your body fights off the virus.

Cases of flu and flu-like-illness have been seen in greater numbers since the spring semester started. Texas A&M University Student Health Services reported 73 flu-like cases in the first three days of the semester.

The best way to protect against the flu is the flu vaccine. The most effective safeguard from catching a cold or flu is hand washing.

Symptoms of the Flu

The incubation period for flu is 1-4 days from exposure to signs of illness. Individuals with the flu are contagious one day prior to symptom onset and remain contagious for 5-7 days. Following are common symptoms of the flu virus. Symptoms usually appear suddenly and can include:

  • Fever over 102◦
  • Stuffy nose
  • Nausea
  • Chills and sweats
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite

Should You Become Ill

  • Stay away from coworkers, as not to spread the virus
  • Consider antiviral medications to take as prevention (such as Tamiflu) for individuals you live with or work closely with. These medications are 70%-90% effective in preventing the flu if started within 48 hours of exposure to the flu
  • Drink plenty of fluids and treat your symptoms
  • Get plenty of rest, particularly while you have a fever
  • Avoid drinking alcohol and smoking
  • Texas A&M University students: Visit the A.P. Beutel Health Center to talk with a physician if you are feeling ill. Appointments can be made by phone at (979) 458-8250, or online at
  • Faculty, Staff, and dependents: Visit your primary care physician


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