Illness & Injury Prevention

Cold and Flu

Common colds and Influenza (flu) are respiratory infections caused by different viruses. Both have very similar symptoms, so it can be difficult to tell them apart. Usually flu symptoms appear suddenly and can include:

  • fever over 100.4°F
  • stuffy or runny nose
  • coughing or sore throat
  • nausea, fatigue, muscle aches
  • chills and sweats


Follow these tips to lower your risk of coming in contact with these viruses:

  • the best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated — schedule an appointment to receive the flu shot at the Health Center
  • avoid close contact with sick people
  • wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based cleansers (like hand sanitizer)
  • cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth -- this is how germs spread


Unfortunately, there is no quick cure for the flu, and traditional antibiotics don't work against the viruses that cause the flu. The best way to start feeling better is by:

  • getting plenty of rest to help your body fight infection
  • drinking lots of fluids, such as water, juice, tea, and clear soups (this helps loosen mucus and prevent dehydration)
  • taking Mucinex 1200 mg or Mucinex D 120/1200 mg twice daily can break up chest or head congestion
  • gargling with warm salt water a few times daily to relieve a sore throat (tea with honey or throat sprays and lozenges may also help relieve the pain)
  • taking Ibuprofen 600 mg every 6 hours, Aleve 2 tablets twice a day, or Tylenol 1000 mg four times a day can help with fever and aches
  • quitting smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke, which can make cold symptoms worse
  • avoiding alcohol to prevent dehydration

If you have a cold or the flu, help keep others healthy! The best way to prevent passing your cold or flu on to others is to stay home until you are fever-free (your temperature is 99°F or below) for 24 hours. 

When to call the Health Center

Most people will recover without needing to see a medical provider. However, you should visit the Health Center if any of the following apply to you:

  • a fever above 100°F lasting more than two days and associated with fatigue and body aches
  • symptoms that last for more than 7 days, or are getting worse instead of better
  • trouble breathing, wheezing, or shortness of breath
  • pain or pressure in the chest
  • fainting or feeling like you are about to faint
  • severe or persistent vomiting
  • severe sinus pain in your face or forehead lasting more than 5 days
  • very swollen glands in the neck or jaw
  • if you have other chronic conditions like asthma, diabetes, renal failure, or are immunocompromised

Food Safety

Each year, 1 in 6 Americans will get sick from eating contaminated food. Learn how you can avoid foodborne illness with these helpful tips.

  • Rethink eating that pizza left out from last night. Perishable food should not be out of the refrigerator for more than two hours. 
  • Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Hot food should remain at 140° F or above and cold foods should remain at 40° F or below. 
  • Thaw foods in the refrigerator, not the counter. Use a thermometer to make sure your meat and poultry is cooked to a safe temperature. 
  • Keep your cooking and food storage area clean. Wash hands and surfaces often. 
  • Think you have a foodborne illness? Make an appointment with the Health Center if you have a fever, blood in stool, prolonged vomiting, signs of dehydration, or diarrheal illness that lasts more than 3 days.

More About FoodBorne Illness