Managing Germs

Washing your hands and managing germs is always important! It helps our community stay well and we have less chance of spreading germs. Everyone wants to avoid catching a cold or the flu!

What is Influenza (flu)?

According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.

Common Symptoms:

Influenza (flu) can cause mild to severe illness and is different from a cold. Flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • fever* or feeling feverish/chills
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • muscle or body aches
  • headaches
  • fatigue (tiredness)
  • some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

Period of Contagiousness:

It is possible to spread influenza to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick.

  • People with flu are most contagious in the first 3-4 days after their illness begins.
  • Some otherwise healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick.
  • Some people, especially young children and people with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others for an even longer time.
Preventing Seasonal Flu:

The best way to prevent flu is to get a flu vaccine each year. The flu vaccine has been shown to reduce flu-related illnesses and the risk of serious flu complications that can result in hospitalization or even death. The CDC also recommends everyday preventive actions (like staying away from people who are sick, covering coughs and sneezes and frequent handwashing) to help slow the spread of germs that cause respiratory (nose, throat, and lungs) illnesses, like flu.

The USD Student Health Center hosts vaccine clinics in each fall. Stay tuned to our social media account (@bewellusd on Instagram) to find out if we will offer clinics again in Fall 2021.

What does proper hand-washing look like?

The most effective way to prevent the spread of the hepatitis A virus and other common infections is to wash your hands properly and regularly. We encourage you to follow these simple steps when washing your hands:

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water. Turn off the water, and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with soap. Make sure to lather the back of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds (you can hum the “Happy Birthday” song twice as a helpful way to track the time).
  4. Rinse your hands thoroughly under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or by air-drying them.


Other Resources:

CDC – Hand Washing

CDC – Flu Fast Facts