To stay well and avoid downtime during the upcoming cold and flu season, the basics of hygiene and self-care are always the most effective, according to health experts at the University of St. Francis.
"Wash your hands frequently and get enough rest," reminds Dr. Catherine Ferrario, a professor and the nurse practitioner in the school's student health center. Those tips are especially true for those already feeling under the weather because "it can get much worse if they don't get enough rest."
Viruses that infect the ear, nose and throat are what cause influenza. Symptoms include sore throat, cough, congestion, chills, fever, aches, headaches, and fatigue. The flu can range from mild and relatively brief to severe and long-lasting. Flu viruses are spread mostly by the moisture emitted by sneezes, coughing and talking. It's possible for the flu to spread through contact with surfaces that have the virus on it, but less likely. The flu is typically most contagious about 24 hours before symptoms show to seven days after becoming ill.
Along with good hand hygiene, Dr. Ferrario advises to drink plenty of water daily. She also encourages people of all ages to get a flu vaccine.
She noted that the number of patients with flu symptoms being treated at the University of St. Francis hadn't shown any sharp increase through late October. Cases of the flu typically spike between November and January, she said.
"And if you're sick it's always best to stay home from work."
St. Francis, founded in 1920, is a Catholic Franciscan university with an enrollment of over 3,700 students. There are three campus locations in Joliet, as well as learning facilities in Albuquerque, N.M. and Miami, Fla.
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