Cold and Flu Safety

Cold vs. Flu

During your time at Binghamton University, it is almost inevitable that you will get sick. One of the biggest questions students have is do they have a cold or the flu. Often the symptoms will appear similar, however there are some differences.

  • With a cold, you will usually have a stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, coughing (maybe with some yellow or green mucus), a sore throat, possibly some mild body aches and you will notice the symptoms arise slowly over a few days.
  • With the flu, you may have a stuffy or runny nose and you may sneeze, and you may also have a sore throat but not necessarily. You will have a very dry cough and severe body aches all over. Nausea is usually a sign of the flu as is a fever with chills and sweats. Symptoms of the flu come on very quickly, usually within hours.

Most people with the flu recover in 7-10 days. Influenza is a virus so antibiotics will not help. Looking to be proactive? Know that Decker Student Health Services Center offers free flu shots to students, with an id.

Tips For if You Have the Flu


  • Take any medicine prescribed to you, exactly as instructed.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow when you cough or sneeze.
  • Use ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), or acetaminophen (Tylenol) to reduce pain and fever.
  • Rest as much as possible.
  • Stay in your room, except to use the restroom. Have friends bring you food.
  • Sip water frequently.
  • You can schedule an appointment to see someone at Decker Student Health Services Center by calling 607-777-2221.

Do not:

  • Go to class until your temperature is under 100 degrees Fahrenheit for 24 hours and you haven't taken any medicine for your fever.

Items to Have on Hand for if You Get the Flu:

  • Chamomile tea
  • Mask
  • Cough Drops
  • Hand sanitizer
  • 500 mg acetaminophen
  • 200 mg ibuprofen
  • Reusable thermometer
  • Chicken noodle soup