Colds and Flu
The common cold and flu
(influenza) are both viral infections of the respiratory system. Colds are usually
caused by a type of virus called rhinovirus (rhino means nose). Flu is
caused by any of several known influenza viruses, but during any one flu season
(which is primarily late fall and winter), one type of flu virus is usually more prevalent. Both
cold and flu viruses are spread from one person to another through contact with
saliva or mucous droplets from moist breath, talking, sneezing, coughing, or hand
contact with the mouth or nose.
Remember the following:
Click here to download the Flu Fact Sheet
- Wash your hands
- Cover your cough
- Stay home if you’re sick
- Get a flu shot if you haven’t had one already
A cold is characterized by a
run-down feeling, scratchy throat, watery eyes, runny nose, and sneezes.
Sometimes a mild temperature or a subnormal temperature is present (97-100
degrees). Cold symptoms usually last seven to fourteen days.
Usually a cold is self-limiting and
can be managed by common-sense care with rest, fluids, and warm salt water
gargles. Most medications used for colds and flu provide relief of symptoms but
don't kill viruses the way antibiotics fight bacterial infections.
The flu often begins like a cold,
with a runny nose and a general run-down feeling, but more severe symptoms,
such as fever, sore throat, muscle pain, weakness, headache, dry cough, or loss
of appetite, develop abruptly in one or two days. Occasionally nausea and
vomiting or diarrhea, or all three, accompany flu symptoms. Chills and
subnormal temperature or a mild temperature are more common than with a cold.
People with symptoms of flu don’t
necessarily need to be seen by a physician or nurse practitioner for simple flu
symptoms. Please download the Flu Fact Sheet
when making your
decision to visit the Health Center for treatment of flu symptoms.
The Health Center offers flu vaccinations at a low cost for students, faculty, and staff. For more information about student flu shots, click here
. For more information about faculty and staff flu shots, click here
. Call the Flu Line at 541-346-4444 or the Nurse Specialty Clinic at 541-346-2739 for further details.