Cold and Flu
How to stay healthy
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) says that the single most important thing you can do to prevent catching a cold or flu is to WASH YOUR HANDS. Most cold and flu viruses are spread by touch. Wash your hands frequently, and especially after using the restroom or before eating or preparing food.
Here are some other things you can do to avoid getting ill during the flu season:
- Get plenty of sleep; it boosts your immune system
- Cut alcohol consumption: Alcohol depresses your immune system making you more vulnerable to infection
- Stop smoking: Tobacco inhibits the systems in your nose and lungs that defend your body from invading viruses
- Eat your fruits and veggies: dark green, red, and yellow fruits and veggies contain the vitamins you need to fend off illness
- Get the flu vaccine! Attend one of the flu shot clinics held on campus.
Be a #BabsonFluFighter, Get Your Flu Shot!
Attend one of two flu clinics to get your flu shot! (Students only; not available for staff or faculty.)
Wednesday, October 18 from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM
Trim Dining Hall
Thursday, October 19 from 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Main Street, Reynolds Campus Center
Be a #BabsonFluFighter Contest
Take a selfie with your Tweety band-aid and post it to social media with the hashtag #BabsonFluFighter, and tag @BabsonWellness. All participants will be entered to win one of three $50 Amazon gift cards. The Contest will run from October 10 through October 30.
Common cold vs. the flu: What am I dealing with?
The flu and common cold have similar symptoms. It can be difficult to tell the difference. In general, the flu is worse than the common cold. Symptoms such as fever, body aches, tiredness, and cough are more common and intense with the flu. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose.
The Common Cold
Cold symptoms usually begin with a sore throat, which usually goes away after a day or two. Nasal symptoms, runny nose, and congestion follow, along with a cough by the fourth and fifth days. Cold symptoms usually last for about a week to ten days. The virus is spread through respiratory secretions, which is why it is important to wash your hands after blowing your nose and to always cover your cough.
Influenza, aka "the flu"
While a cold usually last a week, the worst of it is over in a day or two. The flu, on the other hand, is more severe and can make you feel quite ill for a few days to weeks. Symptoms may include a 100˚ F or higher fever, a cough and/or sore throat, runny nose, headaches, body aches, chills, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
What should I do if I'm sick?
If you have a cold or the flu, you should:
- Stay home; you're contagious! (Folks with the common cold will start to feel better after a day or two. Folks with the flu need to stay home until they are fever-free for 24 hours.) Contact your professors to let them know that you will be missing class and ask for instructions on making up the classwork.
- Get lots of rest.
- Drink clear fluids, including tea, broth, sports drinks, or electrolyte beverages to prevent becoming dehydrated. Avoid alcohol, coffee, and caffeinated drinks as they make dehydration worse.
- Use over the counter medicines (cough drops, Tylenol Cold & Flu, Robitussin DM, etc.) to help relieve symptoms; follow the directions as written.
- Gargle salt water (¼ to ½ tsp of salt to 8 oz of warm water) to soothe a sore throat.
- Cover up with a warm blanket to relieve chills.
- Cough into your elbow, not your hands to reduce contamination. Wash your hands often.
If you have any of the following symptoms, you may need medical attention. You can make an appointment at Health Services (for after-hours care, visit an urgent care clinic). In an emergency, visit call Public Safety and go to the emergency room.
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Purple or blue discoloration of the lips
- Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- Sudden dizziness
- Severe or persistent vomiting
- Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough
What about antibiotics?
Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections. Unfortunately, they are not effective against viral infections like the common cold or the flu.