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Flu Season is Here - Take Action Now

To Students, Faculty and Staff,

As you may know, flu season is here and widespread influenza-likeillness (ILI) is being reported across New York State. Flu virus can spread easily from person to person. Stony Brook University is taking steps to prevent the spread of flu at Stony Brook University, and we need your help and support.

Vaccination is the best protection against the flu this season. By getting the flu vaccine, you become approximately 60% less likely to need treatment for the flu from a healthcare provider. Getting the vaccine has been shown to offer substantial other benefits including reducing illness, reducing the need for antibiotic use, and reducing time lost from work due to illness.

We strongly urge all faculty and staff who are spending the intersession off campus to get vaccinated prior to returning to campus for the spring semester. For those who are spending time on campus during the intercession, Student Health Services is offering the flu vaccine to students free of charge and at a cost of $25 for faculty and staff. There is a limited supply of vaccine available at Student Health Services so it is strongly recommended that everyone get vaccinated by a primary care physician or at a neighborhood pharmacy.

The flu vaccine takes two weeks to become fully effective so getting vaccinated in advance of returning to campus will help prevent you from contracting the flu and spreading the flu.

Here are a few additional preventive steps you can take to help protect yourself and others:

  • Practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also very effective.
  • Practice respiratory etiquette by covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow or shoulder, not into your hands. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth; germs are spread this way.
  • Know the signs and symptoms of the flu a 100oF or higher fever (a fever is a temperature taken with a thermometer that is equal to or greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius) or feeling feverish (not everyone with the flu has a fever), cough and/or sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, Headaches and/or body aches, Chills, Fatigue, Nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea (most common in children)
  • Stay home if you have flu or flu-like illness for at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever(100 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius) or signs of a fever (have chills, feel very warm, have a flushed appearance, or are sweating). This should be determined without the use of fever-reducing medications (any medicine that contains ibuprofen or acetaminophen).
  • Talk with your health care providers about whether you should be vaccinated for seasonal flu. People at higher risk for flu complications include pregnant women and people with chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, heart disease, or diabetes).

For more information about flu in our community and what our institution is doing, visit www.stonybrook.edu/flu/ or stonybrookmedicine.edu/flushot

For the most up-to-date information on flu, visit www.flu.gov, or call 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636).

Gary Kaczmarczyk
Executive Director
Environmental Health & Safety