Seasonal Flu Information

Health Services

What is the Flu?

Seasonal flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by viruses. According to, approximately 5-20 percent of U.S. residents get the flu each year.

Who is at Risk?

Anyone can get the flu (even healthy people). College students are at a unique and increased risk to catching serious illnesses such as the flu. Close contact through residence halls, classrooms, public transportation, parties and athletics events make the flu particularly easy to spread.

How is it Spread?

Most experts believe that you get the flu when a person with the flu coughs, sneezes or talks and droplets containing their germs land in your mouth or nose, or are inhaled into the lungs. You can also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it and then touching your mouth, eyes or nose.


  • Fever (100.4 F and higher)
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • Chills and fatigue
  • Also could include diarrhea and vomiting

Emergency warning signs that need urgent attention:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough

If assistance is needed after hours, call Campus Safety and Security at (401) 341-2325.

Tips for Students

  • If you have flu-like symptoms, you should not attend class. During business hours, call Health Services at (401) 341-2904 if you have any questions or concerns. After hours, call Safety and Security at (401) 341-2325.
  • While ill with the flu, you may be eligible for take-out services through Sodexo if you have a meal plan. Contact Health Services for more information.
  • The CDC recommends avoiding contact with others for at least 24 hours after a fever is gone, except to receive medical care.
  • Call the Dean of Students Office at (401) 341-2145 if you have any questions about academic accommodations. It is your responsibility to contact your professors and to make up missed assignments and exams.

Tips for Faculty and Staff

  • If you have flu-like symptoms, consult your health care provider for diagnosis and treatment.
  • The CDC recommends avoiding contact with others for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone, except to receive medical care.
  • In your everyday campus lives, please use common sense, caution and consideration to contain the spread of any contagious illness.

How to Stay Healthy

  • Try to stay in good general health by getting plenty of sleep, being physically active, managing your stress, drinking plenty of fluids, and eating nutritious food.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water (15-20 seconds), especially after you cough or sneeze. The virus also lives on inanimate objects; so wash your hands frequently after touching door handles, railings, keyboards, water faucets or other public objects. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
  • Do not share cups or eating utensils.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people. Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. If you do not have a tissue, the CDC recommends that you cough into your upper sleeve or elbow.
  • Stay at least six feet away from people with flu-like symptoms.  If you must care for a sick person, they should wear a face mask.