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This Year’s Flu Virus

Message from Dr. Ralph Manchester, Director of the University Health Service

This year’s flu season is severe throughout the U.S. and in the Rochester area. New York State officials said that as of last week, 1,606 New Yorkers have been hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed influenza, the highest weekly number since Department of Health reporting began in 2004.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advises on the best ways to protect yourself against the flu virus:

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Regularly sanitize your living and work spaces (bathrooms, counters, doorknobs, light switches, telephones) with an effective flu-fighting cleaner such as Lysol or Clorox disinfecting wipes.

The CDC and the University continue to recommend the flu vaccine. While it’s not perfect, it remains the best way to prevent getting the flu, and it’s not too late to get vaccinated. University Health Service (UHS) can still provide the vaccine—students and UHS patients can call UHS at 585-275-2662 to schedule an appointment for a flu shot. The UR Student Health Insurance Plan (Aetna) covers the cost of the flu vaccine.

UHS is also holding a Flu Vaccine Clinic on Wednesday, Jan. 31 from 4-5:30 p.m. in the UHS Building. The clinic is open to all students, staff, and faculty. No appointment is needed. Please bring your insurance card. For questions, write to ldudman@uhs.rochester.edu.

Students, as well as faculty and staff who think they may have the flu should:

  • Be seen by a doctor to confirm the diagnosis and understand the best course of action. Make an appointment if you have the flu symptoms of a fever, or feverish/chills; cough; sore throat; muscle or body aches, including headaches; and fatigue.
  • Stay home when you are sick. If you have flu, wait 48 hours until after the symptoms have ended before going out in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.
  • When washing clothing or bedding that has been exposed to sickness, use both a hot water wash and high temperature drying cycle.

Students can call UHS at 585-275-2662 for individual advice. This number is answered at all times; a physician is on call for urgent care issues when the office is not open.

For additional information about the flu, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.