Winthrop University continues to closely monitor the spread of Influenza and Influenza-Like Illness (ILI). Health and Counseling Services encourages you to educate yourself about Influenza and ILI in order to take preventative measures to stay healthy, as well as learn what symptoms may be expected from these current strains of flu.
If you experience influenza-like symptoms, please contact Health and Counseling Services at 803/323-2206 or your family healthcare provider. Also, review the Self-Care for Influenza-Like Illness Guidelines (pdf - 270.28 KB).
Influenza Signs and Symptoms
- Sudden onset cough and/or sore throat
- Fever greater than 100 degrees (if this exists, stay home; you must be free of fever for 24 hours, without the use of fever reducing medication, to return to classes or other gatherings)
- Headache and body aches (anti-inflammatory medications like Advil [Ibuprofen] and Aleve [Naproxen] do a good job of suppressing those aches. If you cannot take Advil, Tylenol may be effective.)
- Lack of appetite
- Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
Health and Counseling Services has a telephone triage system in place so that when you call with regards to symptoms of an ILI, you will be asked questions regarding your symptoms in an effort to assess and make recommendations on further treatment. This will limit your exposure to others and the continued spread of disease. These recommendations will be based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and your personal medical history.
- If you are asked to self-isolate due to your symptoms of ILI and are able to go home, we would ask you to do so and stay there until you have remained free of fever for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medication.
- If you are unable to go home and live in an on-campus residence hall, we will ask you to self-isolate in your room except for essential travel for personal care or medical care and stay there until you have remained free of fever for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medication. A mask should be worn during these essential trips by the ill student.
- Students will be contacted 24-72 hours after their initial visit to the clinic or their telephone triage based on the complexity of their illness to follow up and determine if further treatment, if any, is needed.
- Self-isolation means staying out of class and having limited contact with others.
Health and Counseling Services will notify the Dean of Students daily of students that have been seen in the clinic or triaged by phone that day and determined to need self-isolation for ILI. When notified by Health and Counseling Services, that a student has been diagnosed with ILI, the dean's office will contact the faculty for the student to notify them that the student will miss class and has been advised by Health Services to be isolated. All faculty are encouraged to support the student while recovering. Students are copied on the e-mail and encouraged to stay in touch with their faculty.
- If the dean's office is notified directly by the student, the student will be asked for medical verification by the dean's office. Once the verification is provided, the dean's office will contact the faculty for the student to notify them of the absence from class. Health and Counseling Services will also be contacted so that they can log the student and provide services if requested.
- If the student is living in the residence hall, the dean will contact the Director of Residence Life and the Director of Dining Services so that their staff can provide services according to their protocols.
When the Department of Residence Life is notified by the Dean of Students' Office that a residential student has been diagnosed with ILI, a residence life staff member will contact the student and any roommate.
- If the ill student has a roommate, the roommate will also be given a mask and offered another bed space to relocate to until the roommate is well (as long as space is available). If the well roommate chooses not to relocate, he or she will be asked to sign a Well Student Waiver Form informing the roommate that their risk of getting ILI is higher due to not removing himself or herself from continual exposure to the ILI germs.
- Once a student is well, a Facilities Management Work Request will be submitted to disinfect the student's room.
- The ill student will be given a mask and asked if they need help in making arrangements to go home. If the student is unable to go home, the student will be asked to self-isolate themselves in his or her room.
Students will also be informed of the Flu Web site which offers information regarding taking care of themselves and others when flu is present. Nutrition and hydration will be important during illness and throughout the recovery process. Meals may be picked up and delivered by a friend or "flu buddy" during a student's self-isolation.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
In the event that you become sick
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities.(Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.) Keep away from others as much as possible to keep from making others sick.
- Utilize a "Flu Care Kit" that you should put together in advance and keep in your residence hall or home. The kit should include a digital thermometer, fever reducing medication, tissues, hand sanitizer, cough medication, and oral rehydration drink such as Gatorade.
Follow these Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tips if you are caring for a sick loved one
- Avoid being face-to-face with the sick person.
- Clean your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub after you touch the sick person or handle used tissues or laundry.
- If you are at high risk of influenza associated complications, you should not be the designated caretaker, if possible.
- If you are in a high risk group for complications from influenza, you should attempt to avoid close contact (within 6 feet) with household members who are sick with influenza. Designate a person who is not at high risk of flu associated complications as the primary caretaker of household members who are sick with influenza, if at all possible. If close contact with a sick individual is unavoidable, consider wearing a facemask or respirator, if available and tolerable. For more information, visit the Interim Recommendations for Facemask and Respirator Use Web site.
- Monitor yourself and household members for flu symptoms.
- Talk to your health care provider about taking antiviral medication to prevent the caregiver from getting the flu.
- When holding small children who are sick, place their chin on your shoulder so that they will not cough in your face.