Fall and winter seasons are commonly times when cases of influenza/flu begin to increase. Members of the NCC community should remain vigilant in their personal efforts to protect themselves against the flu. The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. Flu vaccines can help to reduce severity of the symptoms as well as hospitalizations and deaths.

How to Protect Yourself from the Flu

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend taking three simple steps to protect yourself and others from influenza.

Step 1: Vaccinate

Take time to get a flu vaccine. CDC recommends a yearly seasonal flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against seasonal flu.

While there are many different flu viruses, the flu vaccine protects against the three main flu strains that research indicates will cause the most illness during the flu season.
The vaccine can protect you from getting sick from these three viruses or it can make your illness milder if you get a different flu virus.

Getting a vaccine is very important for people at high risk for serious flu complications, including young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart or lung disease, and people 65 years of age and older.

People who live with or care for those at high risk should also get a flu vaccine to protect.

Step 2: Stop Germs

Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.

  • Take everyday preventive actions.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you get the flu, stay home and limit contact with others.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.

Step 3: Antiviral Drugs

  • Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor recommends them.
  • If you do get the flu, antiviral drugs are an important treatment option. (They are not a substitute for vaccination.)
  • Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaler) that fight against the flu by keeping flu viruses from reproducing in your body.
  • Antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and make you feel better faster. They may also prevent serious flu complications. This could be especially important for people at high risk.
  • For treatment, antiviral drugs work best if started soon after getting sick (within 2 days of symptoms).
  • Flu-like symptoms include fever (usually high), headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose and muscle aches.

Step 4: Stay Home If You Are Sick

  • Faculty, staff and students should stay home if they are sick until at least 24 hours after their fever (temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 37.8 degrees Celsius or higher) is gone.
  • Temperature should be measured without use of fever-reducing medicines (medicines that contains ibuprofen or acetaminophen).
  • Visit the CDC website for more information.

Flu Symptoms

Influenza (flu) can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Flu is different from a cold. Flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • fever* or feeling feverish/chills
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • muscle or body aches
  • headaches
  • fatigue (tiredness)
  • some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

For more information visit the CDC's Flu and COVID-19 Symptoms site.