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Aug. 27, 2009
To: Campus community members
From: Stephanie Hanenberg, director, Student Health Center
Re: H1N1 / Swine flu
I know that many of you have asked what the University’s policy is regarding H1N1. I wanted to give a general overview of where we’re at so that you can make your own plans accordingly. This information has been compiled after reviewing the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) information along with consulting with the El Paso County Department of Health and Environment (EPCDHE).
The symptoms of novel H1N1 flu virus in people are similar to the symptoms of seasonal flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. A significant number of people who have been infected with novel H1N1 flu virus also have reported diarrhea and vomiting.
The most important information that each individual needs to be aware of is how to best prevent the spread of this illness and how to deal with the onset of influenza like illness should it occur.
Preventing the spread of H1N1 is of upmost importance as we start the school year. Following these simple recommendations will help ensure your health, as well as the health of those around you.
The simplest thing that you can do is wash your hands on a regular basis. If you don’t have access to water there are hand sanitizer stations placed in high traffic areas around campus. It is also important to disinfect your work area on a regular basis. The bookstore sells sanitizing wipes that can be used on desks, keyboards, etc. at a reasonable cost. If you have cloth furniture in your area you may also want to consider using a spray disinfectant.
It is also important to make sure that you cough or sneeze into the sleeve of your arm versus your hands. If you do cough or sneeze on your hands or into a tissue, be sure to wash your hands immediately after.
Sharing drinks, utensils, etc. is not recommended as someone may be infectious even before the onset of symptoms so be proactive and don’t share items with others.
Finally, if you are sick, you may be ill for a week or longer. Unless necessary for medical care, you should stay home and minimize contact with others, including avoiding travel and not going to work or school, for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, without the use of fever reducing medications. If you leave the house to seek medical care, wear a facemask, if available and tolerable, and cough and sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue and then wash your hands. In general, you should avoid contact with other people as much as possible to keep from spreading your illness, especially people at increased risk of severe illness from influenza. Those at increased risk of having a more serious response to H1N1 are infants under 6 months, people with underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, asthma, and chronic ailments that lower their immune system. As with seasonal flu, people may be contagious for one day before they develop symptoms to up to 7 days after they get sick.
I am happy to come and speak with any department or class on campus that would like to get more information about H1N1 and how to prepare for this flu season. Being as prepared as possible will help minimize the amount of people that are missing from classes and work at a given time. The prediction is that up to 40% of a work population could be out this flu season making it imperative that everyone do their part to be proactive with this virus. Please contact me at 255-4444 if you have any further questions.
Communique is the online newsletter for UCCS faculty and staff. It is published weekly during the fall and spring semesters, monthly during the summer semester. Communique is sent to faculty and staff e-mail lists and, by request, to other e-mail addresses. Previous issues are available in the Communique Archives at www.uccs.edu/ur/communique/archives.html, and the current issue is always at www.uccs.edu/ur/communique. Suggestions and comments are welcome. Send ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org or call Tom Hutton, 255-3439.View Current Communique