Flu Information


If you have not yet received your free flu shot please call the Health Service to make an appointment at 781.283.2810. To find a location off campus for a fee, visit the CDC flu vaccine finder guide



How does the Flu spread?

The flu virus is contained in the wet spray (droplets of saliva and mucous) that comes out of the nose and mouth when someone with the flu coughs or sneezes. Flu is spread easily from person to person.

If you are close enough to a person with the flu (up to about 6 feet away) when they cough or sneeze you can breathe in the virus and get sick. The virus can also live for a short time on things you touch like doorknobs and phones. After you touch these objects, you can catch the virus when you touch your mouth, nose or eyes. However, when the wet droplets on these types of objects dry out, the virus can’t cause infection. 

Adults with the flu can spread it from about one day before symptoms appear to about one week after. Flu symptoms start 1-4 days (usually 2 days) after a person breathes in the virus. Symptoms last from a few days to up to a week or more. 

If you are diagnosed with the flu you will be asked to wear a mask when using common bathrooms and to wash hands or use hand sanitizer before leaving your room to minimize spread of the virus to others. Please cover your cough and sneeze into your sleeve if you are feeling ill, properly dispose of used tissues immediately and wash hands often to keep others from getting sick. Environmental Services will increase the frequency of their disinfection to common areas during cold and flu season.


How to avoid getting the flu?

Getting a flu shot is the most effective way to protect yourself. Health Service has a limited supply available, or you can check with the local pharmacies and clinics in the area. Frequent hand washing is essential (use of hand sanitizer if a sink is not available) especially before eating. Keep your immune system strong by getting 7-9 hours of sleep per night, eating a balanced nutritious diet, exercising regularly and adequately managing your stress levels.


What are the symptoms of the flu?

Although the flu and common cold have similar symptoms, the flu tends to be more severe and sudden in onset. Symptoms such as fever, body aches, fatigue, and cough are more common and intense with the flu than with the common cold.
Flu symptoms include:

  • A 100 F or higher fever or feeling feverish (not everyone with the flu has a fever)
  • A cough and/or sore throat
  • A runny or stuffy nose
  • Headaches and/or body aches
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea (most common in children)

Flu testing can be done in Health Service. If the flu is very prevalent in an area or based on public health guidelines, diagnosis of the flu might be based on symptoms alone. If you are diagnosed as having the flu, antiviral medications can make your illness milder and make you feel better faster. They may also prevent serious complications from the flu. Antiviral medications work best when started within the first two days of getting sick.  Call the Health Service to make an appointment to be seen if you believe you may have the flu.  (781)283-2810.


What is the treatment for those with the flu?          

Self–Isolate, REST and follow your health care provider’s recommendations. Over-the-counter medications may relieve some flu symptoms but will not make you less contagious. Health Service will provide a free flu kit to get you started but you should ask a friend or speak to your RD about how obtain the following self-care items (see below) from a local pharmacy, such as CVS or Andrew’s pharmacy. You may request a delivery from Andrew’s pharmacy once you have an established account set up with them. Their contact information is:www.andrewspharmacy.com or call 781.235.1001.

Be courteous not to spread the flu to others by waiting until you are fever free (without fever reducing medication) for 24 hours before returning to classes and community activities. Take it slow!

Seek medical attention immediately if you experience any of the following:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Purple or blue discoloration of the lips
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worsened cough.
  • For emergencies, call Campus Police at 781.283.5555
  • There is a clinician on call 24 hours/day at 781.283.2810


What to do when you have the flu


Who will I need to notify?

  • Notify your RD or Area Coordinator  that you are sick, and if you will need a “buddy” to bring meals or supplies to you.
  • Notify your class Dean and professors via email that you are ill and will be absent from classes.  They do not want you to attend classes when you are ill and will make arrangements for your absences.
  • Call your family to let them know you are ill so they can check in with you.
  • Please ask friends to call or email you as opposed to visiting your room and risking further spread of the flu.

How will I get meals and/or food?

Members of the Residential Life team will arrange for student volunteers or a designated “Buddy” to bring meals to you.  Wellesley College Dining Services has arranged to provide to-go containers for anyone helping an ill student.  These are available for breakfast, lunch and dinner at all Dining Hall locations.  Please be courteous and wear a mask when answering the door.


Do I need antibiotics?

Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections. They are not effective against viral infections like the flu. Some people have bacterial infections along with or caused by the flu and will need to take antibiotics. Severe or prolonged illness or illness that seems to get better but then gets worse may be a sign of bacterial infection. Contact your health care provider if your symptoms worsen after the initial few days or fever returns.

The Health Service Nurses have pre-made comfort kits for students, which can be mailed directly to student's mailbox on campus by placing an order HERE




Self Care with the Flu


Take your temperature

At least every 8 hours (3 times a day) and record it.   Wait at least 3 minutes after eating or drinking before checking temperature.

Temp > 100 degrees Fahrenheit = FEVER           

Temp < 100 degrees Fahrenheit = NO FEVER

To reduce fever and relieve headache, body aches and sore throat, use over the counter (OTC) medications such as:

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) 650-1000mg every 4-6 hours as needed. Do not exceed 3000mg in 24 hours.


Ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin) 400-600mg every 6 hours with food, as needed.


Drink 8-10 glasses of liquids/day

 to prevent dehydration and loosen secretions.


Sore throat

Warm water & salt gargle as needed to relieve inflammation and discomfort. Warm beverages to soothe throat. Throat lozenges as needed.


Nasal congestion

Phenylephrine (Sudafed) 10mg every 4-6 hours as needed.  Not to exceed 6 doses in 24 hours.  Apply warm compresses over sinuses.  OTC Sinus Rinse kits to help loosen and remove mucous as needed and clear sinuses.  Sleep on an extra pillow at night to promote drainage and relieve sinus pressure.

Andrew’s Pharmacy will deliver medication (including OTC’s) to Wellesley College.


Dry Cough or cough with phlegm

Dry cough:  Mucinex DM as directed; throat lozenges as needed.

Cough with phlegm:  Mucinex as directed.  Warm beverages or other liquids OFTEN to liquefy and loosen secretions.

Andrew’s Pharmacy will deliver medication (including OTC’s) to Wellesley College.


Avoid remedies that claim to relieve multiple symptoms as these may lead to accidental overdose when combined with other medications.

EX. Tylenol Severe Cold and Flu, Nyquil, etc.

If you are taking over-the-counter or prescription medications not related to the flu, talk to your health care provider or pharmacist about which cold and flu medications are safe for you.



A humidifier will keep mucous membranes moist and provide comfort from cough, sore throat and congestion, especially while sleeping.  A hot shower before bed will help too!

Andrew’s Pharmacy will deliver medication humidifiers to Wellesley College.


Keep plenty of tissues and extra fluids in your room.

Andrew’s Pharmacy will deliver tissues to Wellesley College.


Avoid caffeine and eat nutritious food

Avoid caffeine as it tends to “dry” your mucous membranes out. 

Eat nutritious foods to give your immune system the strength to fight. 



Allow your body down time to heal.  By not taking care of yourself when sick, your risks are increased for developing secondary infections and prolonged illness.


For information on our FREE Flu Clinic dates and times, follow us on Facebook


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