Flu-Like Symptoms?

What Do I Do?

As long as COVID-19 remains part of our lives, we are going to have to re-consider what we do when we have flu-like symptoms.

Flu-like symptoms generally include a fever, chills, fatigue, body aches, sore throat, cough, congestion and sometimes nausea or diarrhea. These symptoms have traditionally been considered to be consistent with an infection with the influenza virus, a.k.a. "the flu".  The symptoms can be present in other infectious diseases, including some common viruses such as adenovirus, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), parainfluenza virus and now, we have to consider COVID-19 as a cause as well.

In years past, we mainly advised infection control measures, self-care and rest. This year, due to the pandemic, more stringent measures are required.  Some of our recommendations from the past, still apply.  These include:

1. Go home or stay in your residence hall room if you are sick.  If you become ill while in Cortland, do not leave your residence (except to seek medical care) until you have spoken with a triage nurse at Student Health Services. If you reside in a residence hall, ask your RHD about getting food delivered to your room.  If you must leave your room, like to go to the bathroom, wear a mask and sanitize any common areas you must utilize.

2. Keep your hands clean.  Wash frequently with soap and water, or use alcohol based hand sanitizer.  Hands are the main mode of transmission of these viruses, so keeping them clean is critical to preventing the spread of the illness.  Do not touch your face, especially your eyes, nose and mouth.  These are points of entry (end exit) for the virus.  Cover your coughs and sneezes, either with a tissue or your sleeve.  If you use a tissue, throw it away and wash your hands immediately.

3. Drink plenty of fluids and get plenty of rest.  These are the most effective ways to help you feel better.

4. Take Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Motrin (ibuprofen) for the fevers and aches/pains.  Avoid mixing multiple cold medications as this can lead to overdosing ingredients like acetaminophen that may be present in many different combination medications.

5. Call your doctor, or if you are on campus the Student Health Service right away if you have any of the following:

  • You are pregnant
  • You have chronic lung disease such as asthma, COPD, chronic bronchitis or emphysema.
  • You are diabetic or have other illnesses which affect your immune system such as cancer, HIV, immunodeficiency's, etc. or if you are on immunosuppressive medications like steroids, transplant medications, or chemotherapy.
  • You have severe symptoms from the flu such as: shortness of breath, chest pain, abdominal pain, fainting or severe lightheadedness. If you have these symptoms you should seek immediate medical attention by going to the emergency department at the hospital or calling 911 (2111 on campus).

Contact Us

Student Health Service
Van Hoesen Hall, Room B-26
SUNY Cortland
P.O. Box 2000
Cortland, NY 13045
Phone: 607-753-4811
Fax: 607-753-2486