Students at Institutions of Higher Education

Flu Prevention at Colleges and Universities

Campus life brings people together – in classrooms, dormitories, and at events and activities. Whether you are studying in the library, attending a sporting event, or hanging out with roommates in the dorm, you are surrounded by people. All this togetherness creates many opportunities for respiratory illnesses, such as flu, to spread.

Getting the flu vaccine every year is the best way to prevent seasonal flu. Nonpharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs) can also help you protect yourself and others from getting and spreading the flu. NPIs are actions that people and communities can take to slow the spread of flu. They include simple everyday preventive measures, such as staying away from other people when you are sick, covering your coughs and sneezes, and washing your hands often. Whenever you take any of these actions, you are practicing an NPI.

NPIs are especially important during outbreaks of pandemic flu. A pandemic flu outbreak occurs when a new strain of influenza virus appears among people. Because it is a new virus, people have little or no immunity to it. This allows the virus to spread quickly from person to person around the world. NPIs are especially important during a pandemic flu outbreak because it may take months before an effective vaccine is developed, manufactured, and delivered to the public.

Flu is nothing to sneeze at. Unlike many other viral respiratory illnesses, such as the common cold, the flu can cause severe illness and life-threatening complications in many people — even young healthy adults. Getting vaccinated against the flu every year is the best way to protect yourself from seasonal flu.

The actions you take and plans you make today make a difference. Here are some important steps for protecting yourself and others from getting and spreading the flu, both on and off campus: