Symptoms and Treatment


The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that Influenza (also known as the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The flu is different from a cold. The flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

* It's important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

For more information, visit the CDC's webpage, "Seasonal Influenza: Flu Symptoms & Severity."

What Students Should Do

Do your best to stay healthy. Get plenty of rest, physical activity and practice healthy eating habits.

  • Wash your hands frequently. Use soap and water or hand sanitizer.
  • Get your seasonal flu shot. It is still recommended that you get your seasonal flu vaccination. Local clinics and pharmacies still offer these. If you haven’t had one, please strongly consider receiving one – it won’t only protect you, but the more people at Carleton that have them, the less chance there is of others taking ill.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue whenever you cough or sneeze, and then throw the tissue away. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your sleeve.
  • Clean surfaces you touch frequently. Use disinfectant wipes on shared surfaces, doorknobs, keyboards, bathroom faucets, and refrigerator handles etc.


If you do get ill:

  • Self isolate. If you’re ill, you should remain in your room until you have recovered. Have a friend or roommate get your meals. If this isn’t possible, then talk with your RA.
  • Take your temperature. If you have a fever (100 degrees F/37.8 degrees C or higher), you must self-isolate until you have been completely fever-free (without fever reducing medication) for at least 24 hours, and you feel well.  For most people this will be about 3-5 days. You can purchase a thermometer at SHAC for $5; send a friend to pick one up.
  • If you have an underlying medical condition (asthma requiring daily medication, chronic illness, diabetes, weakened immune system, pregnancy) call SHAC at x4080. Although antiviral medications are not recommended for most healthy individuals, they are recommended for some “high risk” cases and should be taken as soon as possible.
  • Most people recover on their own without medical treatment. Drink fluids to stay hydrated, get plenty of rest, eat what you can and use ibuprofen and acetaminophen as directed to manage fever and body aches. Avoid aspirin. (Antibiotics do not have any effect because a virus causes influenza.) Call SHAC if your symptoms are not improving after 3-4 days or if you have other symptoms of concern. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the symptoms listed below.
  • Notify your professors regarding your illness. If you hold a student work job, also let your supervisor know about your illness.
  • You can still get other illnesses.  Wash your hands regularly, get your rest, exercise and eat healthy.