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Influenza: Avoiding the Flu

We recommend all students, faculty, and staff remain vigilant in dealing with Influenza (the “Flu”) and Influenza-like Illnesses (ILI). Typical symptoms of these infections include fever, cough, and sore throat. These are viral infections that are readily contagious. Anticipating that cases will naturally increase nationwide during the winter months of each year, we encourage everyone to take the following actions to minimize their risk of contracting and/or transmitting these illnesses.

  • The single most effective means of reducing your risk of obtaining and transmitting Influenza is to receive your annual Flu vaccine.
  • You should wash your hands often with soap and warm water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand gel.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze. If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash after you use it. If a tissue is not available, cough into your shirt sleeve and not your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread that way.
  • Wash your hands before eating.
  • Do not share your food, drink, or utensils with others.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people. Examples of close contact include kissing, sharing eating or drinking utensils, or having any other contact between people likely to result in exposure to respiratory droplets. Close contact typically does not include activities such as walking by an infected person or sitting across from a symptomatic patient in a waiting room or office.
  • Post-exposure antiviral prophylaxis is warranted in select patients. Consult with your doctor for further information.


The majority of individuals who contract the flu will not require a doctor’s treatment. If you have been in contact with someone who has the flu, your onset of symptoms may develop up to three days later. The CDC recommends that individuals with influenza or an influenza-like illness remain at home and away from other people until at least 24 hours after they are free of fever or signs of a fever without the use of fever-reducing medications. A fever is any temperature 100° F [37.8° C] or greater. Symptoms of a fever may include headache, muscle aches, and episodes of chilling followed by sweating. Students, faculty, and staff who develop symptoms of the Flu should remain at home to avoid spreading the illness. When possible, students that reside on campus should arrange to go to a private home to recuperate, keeping in mind that traveling by private car or taxi would be preferable to the use of more public transportation.

As it is not possible for all students to arrange private home accommodations, those with single rooms and private bathrooms could remain in their rooms. Students living in suite-type living quarters should remain in their own room and receive care and meals from a single person when possible. Students are asked to establish a “flu buddy” system in which students pair up as the identified caregiver should one or the other become ill. Ill students should limit their contact with others and, to the extent possible, maintain a distance of 6 feet from people with whom they share their living space. If close contact cannot be avoided, the ill student should be asked to wear a surgical mask during the period of contact. You may visit for more information on the Flu and personal protective measures.

Should you have questions or concerns, please contact our Triage Nurse at (865)974-5080. If after hours, you may go to UT Medical Center Emergency Room where after-hours care has been arranged for eligible students.

Additional information is available through our Patient Diagnosis Information link. After clicking on the link, you must type in “Influenza” in the search area.


Student Health Center
Division of Student Life

1800 Volunteer Blvd.
Knoxville, TN 37996-3102
Phone: 865-974-3135