Did you know influenza is NOT the "stomach flu"?

Influenza, or flu, is a contagious respiratory disease, not a stomach or intestinal disease.

What are the symptoms of influenza?

Main symptoms are fever, chills, headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throat and muscle aches.

How is flu spread?

Flu viruses are primarily spread mainly from personal to person in close contact (3 feet or less) through coughing or sneezing by people with the flu. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something -- such as a surface or object -- with the flu virus on it and then touching their mouth or nose.

Prevention and Response

The single best way to prevent influenza is to get vaccinated each year. In addition, good health habits like covering your cough and washing your hands often can help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses. Below are three basic steps that are excellent prevention measures everyone can follow. See Take Preventative Actions. Prevent Flu!

Stay Home When You are Sick! until at least 24 hours after the fever is gone, or after symptoms have improved (at least 4-5 days after symptoms started).

 COVID-19 Versus Flu - How can you tell the difference?

  • Influenza (flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses.
  • Flu and COVID-19 are caused by different viruses.
  • COVID-19 seems to spread more easily than flu.
  • COVID-19 can cause more serious illnesses in some people.
  • Symptoms of flu, COVID-19, and other respiratory illnesses are similar.
  • Testing is needed to tell what the illness is and to confirm a diagnosis.

See the CDC's webpage for the best available information: Similarities and Differences between Flu and COVID-19

 Cold Versus Flu - How can you tell the difference?


It can be difficult to tell the difference as both share the same symptoms.  Colds are usually milder than flu.  Special tests can tell if a person has the flu.

For additional information see the CDC's page Cold Versus Flu

 VIDEO: Feeling Sick? Stay home to stop the spread.

 Take Preventative Actions. Prevent Flu!


1. Get Vaccinated. The single best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated each year.
  • Influenza vaccinations for university students may be obtained at Student Health Service.
  • Employees, contact your health care provider.

2. Stop germs. Good health habits like covering your cough and washing your hands often can help to stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu. 

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. 
  • Stay home when you are sick. 
  • Practice excellent respiratory etiquette. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Don't use hands. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. Wash hands afterward. Throw away tissue when done. 
  • Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

3. Antiviral drugs. If one becomes ill, seek necessary care from your health care provider and follow their directions. This may include prescription of antiviral drugs.  

If personals with flu symptoms must leave their residents (i.e., to seek medical attention), they should cover their nose and mouth with coughing or sneezing. A surgical loose-fitting mask or a tissue may be helpful. 

If possible, persons with flu symptoms who wish to seek medical attention should contact their health care provider or Student Health Services to report illness by telephone or other remote means for guidance before seeking care in an effort to reduce the spread of the virus.

 When should I seek emergency medical attention?

See medical attention immediately if you are experiencing 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 a fever and worse cough.

 Other UW-Stevens Point Actions

  • Departments/Units should have hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol), disposable disinfectant wipes, and Kleenex available for general use. Wipes can be used by employees and students to routinely wipe down frequently used surfaces. Ensure items are dispose of properly in garbage containers. UWSP Departments/Units should order these items directly for their respective areas.

  • CAMPUS GENERAL SUPPLES: Hand sanitizer, disposable sanitizing wipes, dispensers, and tissue all available to order through UW-Stevens Point Central Stores.

  • Departments and Maintenance areas are to establish regular schedules for frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces (e.g., bathrooms, doorknobs, elevator buttons, rails, shared computers, food service areas, remote controls, and table tops). Custodial steps up their cleaning efforts throughout campus, however all individuals can help in this effort by keeping their individual work and study areas clean. Most household disinfectant cleaners and detergents are effective for influenza.

    Any cleaner questions contact Environmental Health & Safety at 715-346-2320.

  • Areas with high frequency of hand to hand exchanges, such as monetary or paper exchanges should have procedures in place to help reduce the risk of spreading the virus such as hand sanitizer, education posters, surface cleaning products and procedures, Kleenex availability, etc.

  • Residential Living sends specific guidance for UW-Stevens Point residents. We encourage students to frequently clean their living quarters, including high-touch surfaces.

  • We encourage all campus community to help in education of all individuals at UW-Stevens Point. Pass on key information to students, employees, family, friends, others. This can be done at employee meetings, beginning of class, prior to meetings, discussions, etc.

  • Students may contact Student Health Service with health-related questions or concerns at 715-346-4646.
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Employees!  Flu shots are available from  health care providers and at pharmacies.

Students! Contact Student Health Service to receive a flu shot.

Page Last Reviewed: October 18, 2022
Page Last Updated: October 18, 2022