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Winter Viruses

Posted in: Announcements, Featured News, Parents and Family, Wellness

Graphic of a virus cells.

Virus and flu season is upon us. Here’s what you need to know about staying healthy this winter season.

Common Cold

The common cold is a contagious viral infection of the upper respiratory tract. This includes the nose, throat and sinuses. It can also affect the ears and lungs. Colds affect all ages and may occur 2-10 times a year in an individual. There are as many as 200 virus strains.

Signs and symptoms of a cold include sore throat, coughing and sneezing, loss of voice, mild headache, fatigue, and low grade fever (99 degrees-100 degrees).

The Flu

Influenza (flu) is a viral infection that affects the nose, throat and lungs. Flu affects all ages.

Signs and symptoms include moderate to high fever and chills, headache, joint and muscle pain aches, sore throat, dry cough, runny/stuffy nose, weakness and fatigue. There may be vomiting and diarrhea.

Stop the Spread

Viruses are spread when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks. The germs go into the air and nearby persons breathe them in. It can also spread by touching a surface that has the virus germs on it and then touching your nose, mouth or eyes. Handshaking can spread viruses as well.

How to protect yourself from getting a virus or the flu:

  • Get a yearly flu vaccine!
  • Wash hands often with soap and water.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with those who are sick.

If you are sick:

  • Stay home.
  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.
  • Avoid sharing cups or utensils with others.
  • Refrain from kissing.
  • Wash hands often, especially after using the bathroom.


  • If the flu virus is diagnosed within 24-48 hours there is a prescription antiviral medication that can be prescribed by a health care provider. It helps to reduce the number of days you are sick.
  • No specific treatment for cold viruses.
  • Most illnesses require symptom relief only (such as pain and fever reducing medication, cough medicine and decongestant).
  • Antibiotics do not work on viruses. Learn More About Antibiotics.


Want to make an appointment? Call the University Health Center at 973-655-4361.

For specific health questions, email our nurses:

See the CDC website for more information: