Birkam Health Center Offers Home Care Tips for Flu Sufferers as Cases Increase on Campus


Birkam Health Center-Ferris State UniversityFlu season is in full swing, and Ferris State University health officials want to keep it from spreading on campus.

Birkam Health Center officials are seeing an increase of patients diagnosed with influenza, said clinical coordinator Cande Price.

“We have been seeing up to six positive influenza tests per day,” Price said. “Not everyone with symptoms wishes to be tested, so we do see individuals with symptoms but who decline to be tested.”

Influenza activity remains high nationally, and nearly all 50 states have reported widespread cases of the contagious respiratory illness, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC recommends getting a flu shot, which will protect against three viruses expected to be the most common this season. Vaccinations are available at Birkam, Price said, and students, faculty and staff and are encouraged to get one while supplies last.

Everyday preventive actions that can slow the spread of germs include avoiding close contact with sick people, covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and washing your hands with soap and water.

Flu symptoms, which usually come on suddenly, can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuff nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue.

“If you become ill with influenza, you will probably be sick for several days with fever and respiratory symptoms,” Price said.

Here are some home care tips that Price recommends:

  • Stay in your room or home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, except to get medical care or for other necessities. Your fever should be gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine before you resume classes.
    • Keep away from others as much as possible, to avoid spreading influenza.
    • Drink clear fluids (such as water, broth, sports drinks, electrolyte beverages) to keep from being dehydrated.
    • Throw away tissues and other disposable items in the trash. Wash your hands after touching used tissues and similar waste.
    • Dishes can be done in a dishwasher or with hot, soapy water.
    • Have everyone in the living area with you wash hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing. If no water is available, you may use alcohol-based hand cleaners.
    • Take all antiviral medications as directed, if prescribed by a doctor. (Antiviral drugs can make the illness milder and reduce its length.)
    • Continue to cover your cough and wash your hands often, even when taking antiviral medications, to prevent spreading influenza to others.
    • Call Birkam Health Center at (231) 591-2614 if you experience any side effects (nausea, vomiting, rash or unusual behavior).


When to seek emergency care:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but return with fever and worse cough


Center hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Appointments are encouraged but not necessary.

For more information about Birkam Health Center, visit http://www.ferris.edu/HTMLS/studentlife/HCenter/homepage.htm or call (231) 591-2614.

Last updated: 08-15-2013