Category: Messages to the Community

Title: Take These Steps to Prevent and Treat Influenza

Date Published: September 10, 2021

Dear Members of the Georgetown University Community:

We are currently experiencing a significant increase in the number of influenza (flu) cases on the Main and Medical Center campuses, with at least 46 confirmed cases of Influenza A so far, as well as many cases of presumed influenza, earlier than expected in the season. Please take the steps below to protect yourself and others in our community.

Influenza is an infectious disease transmitted by a virus. Symptoms are very similar to COVID-19 and other upper respiratory diseases such as the common cold, and prevention measures are the same: staying home and limiting contact with others, washing hands, and masking, among others.

If you have any symptoms such as fever, chills, fatigue, cough, sore throat or runny nose, please do the following: 

  1. Get a COVID-19 test.
  2. Stay home, even if the COVID-19 test is negative, and get plenty of rest.  
  3. While you do not need to quarantine in the same manner as you would with COVID-19, if you are sick, avoid contact with others as much as possible. Do not go to class or other gatherings if you have a fever, cough or are otherwise feeling unwell. 
  4. Students should call the Student Health Center if you have a sudden onset of  high fever (> 101°F), muscle aches, sore throat and cough. Faculty and staff should contact their primary care physician.
  5. Stay hydrated.
  6. Treat fever, aches and pains with Tylenol or ibuprofen.
  7. Stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, except to get medical care or other necessities. 

To prevent infection and transmission of the flu or other viruses to others, please do the following: 

  1. Get your flu shot.
  2. Wash your hands frequently.
  3. Keep your mask on around other people. 
  4. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  5. Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow. 
  6. Avoid touching your nose, eyes and mouth.
  7. Clean surfaces frequently.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone six months of age and older get a flu shot every flu season, with rare exceptions. Flu vaccination can prevent you from getting the flu and reduces flu-related hospitalizations. CDC recommends that individuals get vaccinated in September or October. 

Please get a flu vaccine at your earliest convenience. Georgetown will hold a series of flu vaccine clinics in October, and we will provide additional details in the coming days. You can also schedule an appointment sooner through your healthcare provider or local pharmacy. Georgetown’s student and employee health insurance plans cover the cost of your flu shot, which is now widely available at most pharmacies and medical providers. 

Communicable diseases have the potential to spread fast on college and university campuses due to the high density of people and the unique nature of their complex social networks and activities.  Thank you for taking these important steps to keep yourself and our Georgetown community healthy and safe as we manage a confluence of COVID-19 and the flu this season. 

Sincerely,

Ranit Mishori, M.D., MHS, FAAFP
Professor of Family Medicine, Vice President and Chief Public Health Officer