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Tips for the Northwestern community on how to handle flu season

Dr. Robert Palinkas offers his advice

EVANSTON - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports widespread flu in many states, including Illinois, and some European countries also are experiencing unusually high case numbers.

Though Northwestern University has not yet been heavily affected, the virus’ prevalence is expected to increase as we move deeper into flu season.

Dr. Robert Palinkas, executive director of Northwestern University Health Service, offers the following advice on how to respond to the uptick in flu cases. The CDC also has more information on the flu on its website.

For those who are well 

  • The flu vaccine is still available. Though it is less effective this year at preventing flu, it will reduce the severity of symptoms. Students may schedule a flu vaccine appointment via the Evanston Health Service or Chicago Campus Health Service. Non-students should consult Vaccine Finder or contact their medical provider.
  • Stay away from sick individuals whenever possible.
  • Hand washing reduces spread, so try to wash your hands more frequently. An alcohol-based hand rub will do if you don’t have access to a sink.   

For those who may have the flu  

  • Cover your cough.
  • Wash your hands frequently, and disinfect surfaces that may have become contaminated whenever possible.
  • Avoid unnecessary contact with other people.
  • Self-care is an option for mild cases occurring in normally healthy individuals; not everyone needs a prescription medication.

For those who are ill