Seasonal Respiratory Flu (Influenza) Self Care Instructions


Bates Health Services wants you to recover from the flu as quickly as possible.  You can call Health Services at 207-786-6199 anytime Health Services is open (Monday-Friday 9:00am-5:00pm) if you have questions, needs, or if you need medical attention.  Information on accessing medical care when Health Services is closed can be found here.  For medical emergencies call Campus Safety to dispatch EMS at 207-786-6111 on campus, or 911 off campus.

Symptoms of the Flu

Symptoms of the flu can include fever, fatigue, body aches, cough, and sometimes sore throat and headache. Cough is the most common symptom. Respiratory symptoms of the flu must be monitored to prevent any complications. Most healthy young adults do not have any serious medical problems and recover from the flu uneventfully. The need for hospitalization is rare. If you become short of breath or have any trouble breathing, report this immediately to Health Services at 207-786-6199.  If your condition becomes worse or is not improving, the Health Services provider will determine if you need further testing or hospitalization.  Students with chronic illnesses such as asthma or diabetes should be evaluated at Health Services.

Treatment of the Flu

In most instances, seasonal flu is self-limiting, lasting 4-7 days, and symptoms can be treated at home.  If you live within a few hours of Bates and it is possible, consider having a family member bring you home to recover.  Sleep and rest are extremely important in your recovery process.  Drinking lots of water, tea, and juice will help loosen respiratory secretions and prevent dehydration. Signs of dehydration include dry lips and decreased urination. Try to drink one cup of fluids every hour you are awake to stay hydrated. Good nutrition, even in small amounts if your appetite is decreased, will help you keep your strength. For fever over 101 F and discomfort, non-aspirin over the counter medications like ibuprofen (Advil) and acetaminophen (Tylenol) are recommended as directed. Since the flu is caused by a virus, antibiotics are not helpful unless complications occur. In some cases antiviral medication may be prescribed if appropriate.

Food and Fluids

While you are resting in your room, ask a friend to come to Health Services to pick up a fluid pack for you which includes Gatorade. You or a friend can access Grab and Go meals from Commons. If you’re interested in this service, please email

Infection Control and Disinfection

When self-isolating you need to stay in your room with your door closed. Do not go to class when you have the flu. The best way to prevent the further transmission is to use frequent handwashing.  Handwashing is especially important after using the bathroom, after covering your mouth when coughing or after blowing your nose. Using alcohol based hand sanitizer will also help with infection control. Please wear a mask provided when you are with others while you are contagious.


In an emergency, call Bates EMS at 207-786-6111. Off campus, dial 911. To speak with a nurse or medical provider in non-emergent situations, please call Health Services at 207-786-6199.

Communication with Faculty

Health Services will raise a Bates Reach flag to indicate to your faculty that you are ill.  It is your responsibility to stay in touch with each of your professors regarding your class absences and work assignments. If you need additional support navigating your classes, please email