The influenza season is active in Wyoming, and across the United States. The CDC has issued a statement that the predominate strain of influenza that is circulating this season, influenza A (H1N1), can result in more severe illness, especially in young and middle aged adults. For this reason, it is important to obtain this season’s flu shot (which contains protection against this strain of the flu virus and two other strains) to help prevent acquiring this illness. A flu shot is especially important if you have an underlying illness, as you are at higher risk for complications from influenza (http://www.cdc.gov/flu/groups.htm). The CDC recommends everyone get a flu shot. If you develop symptoms of influenza, stay at home until you are free from fever for 24 hours (without the use of medication) and limit contact with others to help to limit the spread of this illness. If you have worsening symptoms, you should seek medical care. Also practice good handwashing or use of hand sanitizer to limit the spread of all viruses including influenza.
Flu shots ($23.00) are available at the Student Health Service for eligible students and benefited staff and faculty (the SHS will file the Cigna insurance claim for benefited staff and faculty, so there will be no cost, but please bring your insurance card). No appointment is necessary. Flu shots are also available at Albany County Public Health (307-721-2561) and pharmacies in Laramie.
What are the symptoms of influenza?
The major strains of influenza (A and B) have similar symptoms:
If you become ill, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from spreading the illness.
The best ways to keep influenza from spreading are:
Obtain a flu shot.
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. If you don't have tissues handy, cough into your elbow rather than your hand.
Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Do not share eating and drinking utensils.
Avoid contact with sick people.