Flu and colds

About the flu

The flu, also known as Influenza, is an infection of your nose and throat, or upper airway, caused by an influenza virus. The flu can cause serious illness and health complications, especially for young children, pregnant people, the elderly, or people with certain medical conditions.

What to do if you're sick

Managing your symptoms

Many cold and flu symptoms such as fever, muscle pain, and sore throat can be managed at home with over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol or Advil. Read about the flu symptoms you can manage at home on your own, and the ones that require medical attention.

If you experience severe symptoms, like difficulty breathing, confusion, or persistent fever, you may want to see a medical professional. Visit a Student Health Service clinic if you do not start to feel better in a few days or your symptoms worsen.

Call HealthlinkBC at 811 for free health information and advice from a registered nurse, dietician, pharmacist, or a qualified exercise professional.

If you have to miss class or an exam

If you’re feeling unwell and cannot attend class, follow the instructions in your syllabus. Your course instructor should not need you to present a sick note. They may simply ask you to email them about your situation and make up the work you missed.

You may want to consider an academic concession if a medical circumstance is preventing you from completing graded work or exams. Contact your academic advising office if you have to miss class or coursework for an extended time due to illness.

If your medical condition is ongoing and affecting your studies for more than one term, you can request an academic accommodation.

If you're unable to work

UBC offers emergency funding for students who encounter an unexpected situation that impacts their finances. An Enrolment Services Advisor can work with you to review your personal finances and connect you to helpful resources.

Protecting yourself and others from getting sick

Colds and flus spread easily through coughing, sneezing, or having face-to-face contact. The risk of getting sick can be higher in spaces with large numbers of people, such as lecture halls, indoor campus spots, and on the bus.

Follow the tips below to protect yourself and others from getting sick:

  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Stay home if you are unwell.
  • If you’re sick, wear a mask when around others.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose.
  • Get your flu shot at a local clinic.

Get your flu shot

The flu shot, also known as flu vaccine, is available during late October or early November. In British Columbia, the flu shot is recommended and free for everyone aged 6 months or older.

Call and book an appointment for your flu vaccine at UBC Student Health Service.

COVID-19 Vaccine

Several clinics also offer the COVID-19 vaccine with the flu shot during the same appointment. If you’re registered with the Get Vaccinated system, you’ll receive a notification when it’s time to book your next COVID-19 vaccine. If you don’t have MSP or a Personal Health Number (PHN), you can call 1 833 838 2323 (toll free) to register for the system.

Additional resources