Flu season is here, and a highly populated university can leave students vulnerable to catching influenza. One of the most important steps to treating the flu is being able to identify flu-like symptoms.

The respiratory illness usually begins with a fever, sore throat and cough. Symptoms also include headaches, body aches, fatigue and fevers reaching 103 degrees, said Lisa Leahigh, a registered nurse at the University of New Mexico Student Health & Counseling.

Flu symptoms are associated with their longevity. The flu can vary in its intensity and length depending on the person’s level of health and treatment options. However, even after the main symptoms of the flu have passed, many people can still suffer from lingering symptoms.

“On average, the flu can last for a few days to about two weeks. However, the fatigue can last longer, and one of the scary things about the flu is that it can develop into other infections such as pneumonia. So, it is important to take the flu and flu symptoms seriously,” Leahigh said.

If a person has already developed flu-like symptoms, there are many treatments that can help mitigate the problem.

“First of all, if someone develops flu symptoms, they need to get a lot of rest, drink a lot of fluids, monitor their temperature and take a fever reducer if necessary. However, since the flu can lead to complications, anyone who becomes dizzy, short of breath, experiences pain in their chest or cannot break their fever, should see their doctor,” said Leahigh.

If a student is certain that he or she has the flu, it’s important to rest as much as possible. Due to the severity of the flu, it is recommended to take days off of regular activities to allow medicine and a body’s immune system to respond.

Along with always covering their mouths when they cough, Leahigh recommends that students — after informing their instructors via email — should not attend class while they have a fever.

Being aware of treatment options for the flu is important; however, keeping a preventative mindset is another great responsibility for everyone. The CDC has shown that the greatest preventative method for the flu is to get a flu shot.

Students can access free flu shots at SHAC by calling 277-3136 to make an appointment. They can also attend SHAC’s flu shot clinic on Nov. 7 and 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Shubham Chadha is a news reporter for the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at news@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @DailyLobo.