Influenza (flu) season runs from October to March in the northern hemisphere. Below you’ll find information and guidelines for managing the flu.

Flu Symptoms

The symptoms of influenza include fever, cough, sore throat, and sometimes body aches, headache, chills, and feeling tired. Some people also have diarrhea and vomiting. The most important thing you can do to keep the flu from spreading in your campus community is to stay home if you are sick.

Use the following checklist to help decide if you may have the flu:

  • Do you have a cough?
  • Do you have a sore throat?
  • Do you have a headache, body aches, or chills?
  • Do you have vomiting or diarrhea?
  • Do you have a fever of 100.4°F or more?

COVID or Flu?

Both COVID-19 and flu can have varying degrees of symptoms, ranging from no symptoms (asymptomatic) to severe symptoms. Common symptoms that COVID-19 and flu share include:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/having chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle pain or body aches
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea (more frequent in children with flu, but can occur at any age with COVID-19)
  • Change in or loss of taste or smell, although this is more frequent with COVID-19.

If you develop any of these symptoms, please consult your primary care physician or Emerson Wellness Center for further guidance. More information on our COVID protocols may be found throughout One Emerson.

Should I stay home?

If you have a fever of 100.4° F or more AND a cough or sore throat, you have an influenza-like illness. We recommend that you stay home until fever-free for 24 hours without fever-lowering medication such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin).

When should I see a medical provider?

Seek immediate medical care if you:

  • Have trouble breathing or chest pain
  • Have purple or blue discoloration of the lips
  • Are vomiting and are unable to keep liquids down
  • Have signs of dehydration, such as dizziness when standing, less urine, or in infants, a lack of tears when they cry
  • Have seizures (for example, uncontrolled convulsions [or shakes])
  • Are less responsive than normal or become confused
  • Have signs of flu that improve but then return with fever and worse cough
  • Have fever with a rash
  • Have any other signs that are especially worrisome or concerning

For more information, see the Boston Public Health Commission's flu website or the CDC Flu Link.

Getting Immunized

Emerson College encourages all members of the Emerson community to get a flu shot. A list of dates and times of the Emerson Wellness Center Flu Clinics can be found on Emerson Today. Students receiving the flu vaccine at health services and who are on the Emerson College Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) plan will have their insurance billed directly. Students who are not on the Emerson College BCBS plan will be charged $35 to their Emerson College account. These students may submit a reimbursement claim form on their own to their insurance plan. Additionally, you can find a list of sites and clinics who offer the flu vaccine here.

We are committed to providing students, parents, and the Emerson community with updated information as the flu season progresses. We strive to minimize the risk of infection on campus by following the guidelines for colleges and universities promoted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH), and the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC). We encourage you to practice healthy habits and we seek your partnership in combating the flu.