Dear Rutgers Colleagues:
The New Jersey Department of Health continues to report an increase in influenza-like ("flu") illness in our region as the U.S. is on pace to see more flu cases than average this season. Given this looming public health concern, I urge you to obtain a flu vaccination as soon as possible.
Flu season can last late into the spring, so it is not too late to get a vaccination. Flu vaccinations are the most effective way to prevent flu, lessen its symptoms, and cut down on its spread. This year's vaccine is also a solid match to flu strains that are circulating, so far.
To find a location where you can receive a flu shot near you please visit www.cdc.gov/flu and enter your zip code in the "Flu Vaccine Finder."
New Influenza Immunization Policy for Clinical Faculty and Staff
Additionally, Rutgers has a new policy (100.3.1) for clinical faculty and clinical staff who have contact with patients who may have the flu. Essentially, all clinical faculty and staff who have contact with patients are required to have a flu vaccination or wear masks. Please see the policy for details.
Signs and Symptoms of Colds and Flu and Respiratory Precautions
Many people mistakenly believe they are too healthy to get the flu or are too busy to heed its warning signs. Please be aware of the following symptoms, even if you have received the flu vaccine:
- Fever or feeling feverish/chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults)
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and may have had exposure to the flu virus, please call your primary care provider's office as soon as possible. They can identify the best treatment options, which may include anti-viral medications, and provide advice on ways to recover quicker and help avoid spreading the flu. Additionally, please be considerate of your friends, neighbors, co-workers, and classmates, and stay home to prevent spreading the flu.
Other ways you can help stop the spread of flu and keep those around you healthy include:
- Cover coughs and sneezes with tissues or the inside of your elbow
- Wash your hands frequently or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Avoid contact with sick people
- Clean commonly shared items such as light switches, remote controls, doorknobs, and faucets
I wish everyone in the Rutgers Community a happy and healthy 2018.
Brian L. Strom, MD, MPH
Chancellor, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences
Executive Vice President for Health Affairs, Rutgers University