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Cold & Flu

Staying healthy is an important part of your success in school and at work. The tips outlined on this page can help members of the EWU community stay well during times of increased illness. Whether in class, at home or when traveling these tools may help you and those you care about stay healthier.


Staying Healthy during cold and flu season:

Viruses and bacteria, the germs that cause respiratory infection, are spread from person to person in droplets when a sick person coughs, sneezes or talks: some virus also can be spread when a person touches a surface with the virus on it (e.g., a door handle), and then touches his/her nose or mouth.

Keep germs away:

  • Wash your hands before eating or touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Wash your hands after touching anyone who is sneezing, coughing, blowing his/her nose, or who has a runny nose.
  • Don't share food, utensils or beverage containers with others.
  • Don't share things like towels, lipstick, toys, cigarettes or anything else that might be contaminated with respiratory germs.

Cold vs. Flu Symptoms

What's the difference between the Cold & Flu?
Location of Infection: Upper respiratory Whole respiratory system
Caused by: 200+ strains of viruses
(most common is rhinovirus)
2 strains of viruses
Influenza A - causes the deadly influenza that strikes every 10-40 years (mutates regularly)
Influenza B - causes smaller, more localized outbreaks (mutates regularly)
Onset: Gradual (over a day or two) Sudden (within a few hours)
Fever: Occasional Characteristic, high (over 101ºF), lasting 2-4 days
Headache: Frequent and usually less severe Prominent, often severe
General Aches, Pains: Slight Usual, often severe
Fatigue, Weakness: Quite mild Can last up to 2-3 weeks
Extreme Exhaustion Never Early and prominent
Stuffy nose Very common Sometimes
Sore throat Common Sometimes
Chest Discomfort, Cough: Mild to moderate, hacking cough Common, can become severe
Season (viruses thrive in cold seasons): All year-round, with peak in the winter Most cases between November and February
Do antibiotics help? No No
Can the doctor help? Only by treatments that lessen the symptoms Yes - if treatment is started within first 2-3 days

Click on the following links for more information on the influenza:

Center for Disease Control and Prevention
World Health Organization
Spokane Regional Health District
American College Health Association

I have the "flu" - What do I do now?

Prevent spreading germs to others:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze or cough.
  • Use a tissue to wipe or blow your nose and quickly throw away used tissue.
  • Stay at home to avoid spreading germs when you have a cough or fever.
  • Follow your doctor's instructions, including taking medicine as prescribed and getting lots of rest.
  • Wear a mask in a medical office, if asked.

FAQ's colds and flu

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