The UAB campus community has experienced a significant increase in influenza disease and influenza-like symptoms. The Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC), the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) and Jefferson County Department of Public Health (JCDPH) have provided information about influenza this season in the county and state. With the return of students to campus and classes underway, it is imperative that students, faculty and staff take precautions to minimize the spread of the flu virus.

Flu at UAB

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) says that you can three steps to help fight the flu.

  1. Get a flu vaccine -- still effective for many, helps prevent spread of flu, and helps prevent severe illness and complications
  2. Take every day preventative actions
    • Avoid close contact with others
    • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue for sneeze and cough
    • Wash hands often with soap and water
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
    • Clean and disinfect common surfaces (doorknobs, keyboards, and phones)
    • If you feel sick at work or in class, go home as soon as possible
  3. Take flu antiviral drugs if prescribed
    • May make illness milder, shorten sickness and prevent complications
    • Works best when started within 2 days of getting sick

For more information, visit https://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/preventing.htm.

Students

Take precautions on and off campus. If you are a student in the residence hall or in off-campus housing, it is very important that you take steps to protect yourself and others. You can take the simple steps mentioned above and also take the following steps to help fight the flu.

  1. Sanitize your area
    • Wipe down items in your room and common areas
    • Be aware of linen or objects you or someone has sneezed or coughed on (wipe down as soon as possible)
    • Sanitize shared areas (i.e. bathrooms, common social areas, etc.)
  2. Increase your use of hand sanitizer and soap and water hand washing
  3. Wear a face mask if a roommate has symptoms or if you have symptoms

You can get hand sanitizer and masks from the UAB Student Health and Wellness Center.

For additional up-to-date information, you can click on the follow links to the CDC or JCDPH:

http://www.jcdh.org/programs/disease-control/seasonal-flu-update/
https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/current.htm

People at especially high risk of influenza complications, like hospitalization and pneumonia, are:

  • Young children (younger than 5, but especially younger than 2 years old)
  • Adults 65 years of age or older
  • Pregnant women
  • People with medical conditions such as a weakened immune system, asthma, heart disease, and diabetes

However, this particular influenza strain has impacted those who are not high risk at a greater rate than expected. Because of this, it is essential that all populations take the necessary precautions to minimize the spread of the flu.

Students can get hand sanitizer and masks from the UAB Student Health and Wellness Center. For all students who are having symptoms and need to schedule an appointment at the Student Health and Wellness Center, please go to the Student Health website at http://www.uab.edu/students/health/ and log in to your Patient Portal.