A Note About Medications

  • Students need an updated form each school year for the administration of medications at school. Please ask your healthcare provider to fill this out each time the administration of medication is necessary during the school year.

Flu Information

  • Flu Information
    What are symptoms of the flu? 
    Symptoms of the flu include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny/stuffed nose, body aches, headaches, fatigue.  Occasionally a person can have vomiting and diarrhea but this is more common in children.
    How do they differ from the common cold? 
    The flu and the common cold are both respiratory illnesses but they are caused by different viruses.  It is often difficult to tell the difference between a cold and the flu though, in general, flu comes on suddenly – which is different than the common cold.  Also, flu tends to be more severe than the common cold. 
    What flu myths do you hear the most? 
    The most frequent myth I hear is the statement that “the vaccine gave me the flu”.  The flu shot does not contain live virus so it is not possible to catch the flu from the shot.  Some people who receive the flu shot may experience a sore arm, low grade fever and complain of aches – but this is not the flu.  The nasal spray vaccine does contain live virus but the viruses in the nasal spray are weakened and do not cause severe symptoms associated with flu.  Symptoms from the vaccines are mild and short-lived.  It is important to weigh the risks of mild (or more commonly no) side effects from a flu vaccine compared to the risk of the flu.
    What should someone do if they think they have the flu?
    If you think that you have the flu, it is important to stay home from work or school so that you do not spread the infection.  It is also important that you see your health care provider for evaluation.  Some individuals may need antiviral treatment, especially those at increased risk for severe illness such as persons with certain medical conditions.  Flu medicine works best when started as early as possible, optimally within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms.  Your healthcare provider can determine if you would benefit from antiviral medication. 
    What can we all do to avoid getting the flu?  To avoid illness it is important to stay away from sick people and stay home if sick. Unfortunately, some people can be infected with the flu virus but have no symptoms.  During this time, those persons may spread the virus to others.  Therefore, it also is important to wash hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.  Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you sneeze or cough and throw the tissue away after you use it. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth as germs spread this way. 
    The most important step is to get vaccinated.  As many people have probably heard, the flu season is off to an early start and flu is now widespread.  So far, influenza A (H3N2) viruses are most common.  H3N2 predominant seasons have been associated with more severe illness and deaths, especially in older people and young children compared to seasons when other strains predominate.  You may have also heard that the match between the circulating strain and the vaccine is not as good as we would expect.  Flu viruses constantly change over time so we base each year’s flu vaccine on the strains predicted to be the most common.  This is why a new vaccine is developed every year and the reason that we have to be re-vaccinated every year.  The flu is smart and sometimes can change from what we have in the vaccine.  This is what has happened this year.  However, it is STILL important to be vaccinated.  Remember, each vaccine contains between 3-4 strains of flu.  While H3N2 is predominant right now, other strains are out there and the vaccine should help protect against those.  Some of the H3N2 strains have been well matched to the vaccine (approximately 1/3rd have been).  Finally, although the vaccine may not work as well against viruses not well matched to the vaccine, we may still get some cross-protection from the vaccine and this can protect many people and prevent flu-related complications, hospitalizations and deaths