Colds & Flu

If I get sick, what should I do to get access to health care?

All registered students are eligible to be evaluated here at Suffolk Counseling, Health & Wellness Services.

Avoiding the Flu

The Centers for Disease Control and the Boston Public Health Commission strongly recommend the following ways to help you to keep from getting sick with the seasonal flu:

Practice good hand hygiene!
Wash your hands often with soap and water (about 20 seconds), especially after coughing or sneezing. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.

Cover 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, sleeve or shoulder; not into your hands!

Don't touch!
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.

Clean your living/working quarters often!
If you live together with other students or work in an office, you should frequently clean commonly-used surfaces such as doorknobs, refrigerator handles, remote controls, computer keyboards, counter tops, faucet handles, and bathroom areas. A list of good products to use can be found here.

Talk to your health care provider about getting vaccinated.
To find out if you should be vaccinated for seasonal flu information can be found at:

Avoid close contact and stay home if you are sick.
It is recommended that you stay at home 4 days after you first get sick OR 24 hours after your symptoms (including fever) have gone away, whichever is longer. Staying away from others while sick can prevent others from getting sick.

Seasonal Flu

Seasonal flu basics (disease, viruses, flu season)
Preventing seasonal flu (vaccination, health habits, antivirals)
What to do if you get sick (symptoms, treatment, taking care of yourself)

Additional Resources

One-stop access to U.S. Government flu information.

Flu Vaccine

Getting a yearly seasonal flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting yourself against seasonal flu. CHW Health is now offering the seasonal flu vaccine in our office.

When Can I Get A Flu Shot?

We encourage you to schedule an appointment at CHW Health, 5th Floor, 73 Tremont Street,

How Much Does It Cost?

FREE for students enrolled in Suffolk's Student Health Insurance Plan (SSHIP).

If you are not enrolled in the SSHIP, the charge is $20 (cash or check only). This may be reimbursable through your insurance company.

Be sure to bring your Suffolk ID and your health insurance card with you!

Key Facts About The Flu Vaccine

The seasonal flu vaccine protects against three influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. flu vaccine will protect against 2009 H1N1, and two other influenza viruses (an H3N2 virus and an influenza B virus). The viruses in the vaccine change each year based on international surveillance and scientists' estimations about which types and strains of viruses will circulate in a given year. About 2 weeks after vaccination, antibodies that provide protection against influenza virus infection develop in the body.

Should I Get The Flu Shot?

Health experts now recommend that everyone 6 months of age and older get vaccinated against influenza. Each flu season, different flu viruses can spread and they can affect people differently based on their body’s ability to fight infection. Even healthy children and adults can get very sick from the flu.

Use these resources for more information about the flu vaccine:

CDC Flu Vaccination Fact Sheet
CDC Information on seasonal influenza

Cold vs Flu

Symptoms Cold Flu
Fever Rare Usual; high (100-102 degrees; occasionally higher); last 3-4 days
Headache Rare Common
General Aches, Pains Slight Usual; often severe
Fatigue, Weakness Sometimes Usual; can last 2-3 weeks
Extreme Exhaustion Never Usual; at the beginning of illness
Stuffy Nose Common Sometimes
Sneezing Usual Sometimes
Sore Throat Common Sometimes
Chest Discomfort, Cough Mild to moderate; hacking cough Common; can become severe
Treatment Antihistamines, Decongestant, Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines Antiviral medicines- see your healthcare provider
Prevention Wash hands often, avoid close contact with anyone infected Annual vaccination
Complications Sinus congestion, middle ear infection, asthma Bronchitis, pneumonia

Flu FAQs

What should I do if I have flu symptoms?

If you have a fever of more than 100° F and a cough or sore throat, stay home and rest. Generally, you do not need to be seen unless you are pregnant or have an underlying medical condition that puts you at higher risk for developing serious complications from the flu, or unless your symptoms are serious. In adults, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, pain or pressure in abdomen, sudden dizziness, confusion, or severe or persistent vomiting, or flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough would be considered serious symptoms. Serious symptoms in children would include fast breathing or trouble breathing, bluish skin color, not drinking enough fluids, not waking up or not interacting, irritability to the point of not wanting to be held, or flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough.

If you're not sure whether you need to be seen by a health care professional to be evaluated or if you should stay home, feel free to call your primary care provider for advice. You may also call for advice on over-the-counter medications you can take to treat normal influenza symptoms. CHW Health staff and other health care providers in the U.S. are no longer performing routine flu tests on patients with influenza symptoms.

To avoid spreading the illness to others, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health recommends that individuals who become sick with the flu should avoid close contact with other people until 4 days after onset of symptoms OR 24 hours after a fever has resolved and body temperature has remained normal without the use of fever-reducing drugs such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen. For employees, Human Resources at Suffolk has additional information on the University's current leave and payment policies and the policies that will be in effect in the case of more widespread illness or another emergency.

Who is at higher risk for developing serious complications from seasonal influenza?

The people who are at higher risk of serious complication are women who are pregnant, individuals older than 65 or younger than 2, people with chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease, and people whose immune systems are suppressed due to medications or medical conditions.

How should I clean my living/workspace if someone becomes sick with flu-like symptoms?

You should follow the same infection-control practices you would use during the normal cold and flu season. To prevent the spread of illness, disinfect commonly touched hard surfaces in the living/ workplace, including counter tops, door knobs, telephones, copy machines, work stations, and bathroom surfaces by wiping them down with a household disinfectant according to directions on the product label. A list of recommended products can be found here. Studies have shown that the virus does not remain infectious on environmental surfaces for more than eight hours. Frequent hand washing is the best way to avoid infection from contaminated surfaces.

To prevent the spread of influenza virus, it is recommended that tissues and other disposable items used by an infected person be thrown in the trash. Additionally, persons should wash their hands with soap and water after touching used tissues and similar waste.

Linens, eating utensils, and dishes belonging to those who are sick do not need to be cleaned separately, but importantly these items should not be shared without washing thoroughly first.

Linens (such as bed sheets and towels) should be washed by using household laundry soap and tumbled dry on a hot setting. Individuals should avoid “hugging” laundry prior to washing it to prevent contaminating themselves. Individuals should wash their hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub immediately after handling dirty laundry. Eating utensils should be washed either in a dishwasher or by hand with water and soap.

How many flu vaccinations will I need this year?

You will only need one per flu season. Ideally getting a flu shot in September/October is best, however, later fall/early winter shots are helpful. Consult with a medical provider regarding your flu shot needs.

When should I get vaccinated against seasonal flu?

The Office of Health & Wellness Services is now offering flu vaccines by appointment.

Students: If your home is close to Suffolk University and you wish to be vaccinated, you should make an appointment with your own primary care provider for vaccination and/or evaluation and treatment of illness. If you are unable to make an appointment with your own primary care provider, you can receive the seasonal flu shot at CHW Health.

Employees: You should make an appointment with your own primary care provider for vaccination and/or evaluation and treatment of illness. If you have questions regarding flu clinics for employees please contact Human Resources at 617-573-8415.