Pandemic and Seasonal Flu
What sort of flu season is expected this year?
Flu seasons are unpredictable in a number of ways. Although epidemics of flu happen every year, the timing, severity and length of the epidemic depends on many factors, including what influenza viruses are spreading and whether they match the viruses in the vaccine.
Will new strains of flu circulate this season?
Flu viruses are constantly changing so it's not unusual for new flu virus strains to appear each year.
When will flu activity begin and when will it end?
The timing of flu is very unpredictable and can vary from season to season. Flu activity most commonly peaks in the U.S. in January or February. However, seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and continue to occur as late as May.
The Center for Disease Control recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease. To learn more please visit the Center for Disease Control website.
While there are many different flu viruses. The flu vaccine is designed to protect against the three main flu strains that research indicates will cause the most illness during the flu season. For information about which viruses this season's vaccine has been developed to fight, please visit the Center for Disease Control website.
Pierce College, staff and students are encouraged to practice good personal hygiene during flu season:
- The latest research indicates that coughing or sneezing into your sleeve or upper arm is the most hygienic.
- If you do use your hands, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, throw the tissue in the trash after use, and wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that proper hand washing is the single most important step to prevent illness. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, as germs are spread this way.
- Try to avoid close contact with people who appear to be ill.
- If you get sick, the CDC recommends you stay home from work or school and try, as much as possible, to limit your outings to medical appointments only.
If You Get Sick
The flu is typically distinguished from a cold or allergies by a fever of 100° F or higher. Symptoms may also include cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body ache, headache, chills, unusual fatigue, diarrhea or vomiting.
If you experience these symptoms:
- Take your temperature. A fever of 100° or higher is a distinguishing indicator for influenza.
- Stay home and do not come to campus. Students diagnosed with or suspected to have influenza should remain in their homes or residences and avoid contact with others until at least 24 hours after their fever subsides. Students should not go to class during this time.
- Review policies regarding limited campus services.
Returning to class and other activities:
Once students have been fever-free (without fever reducing medication) for 24 hours, they can return to their normal schedules, but are advised to limit their activity until they are at full strength. Overly strenuous activities can lead to longer recovery times.