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Information About the 2009/10 Flu Season

If you have listened to the radio, watched TV or read any news publication you know about the H1N1 virus. You may know that this influenza strain has been officially classified as a pandemic. The World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control have issued public bulletins warning schools and other organizations to expect a sharp increase in cases this fall. We hoped we would be several weeks into the fall semester before any of our faculty/staff or students became sick. Unfortunately, we have the first report of a case of flu from one of our faculty members.

As a result, we are implementing phase I of our pandemic response plan. We will not be closing the institution at this time, but will initiate preventive measures. Soon you will see hand sanitizers in common areas at all sites. Please use these liberally. Other methods of keeping viruses from spreading are listed below.

  • Sneeze or cough into your elbow.
  • If you get sick, stay home until 24 hours after you stop running a fever.
  • Avoid shaking hands or touching your nose and eyes.
  • Wash your hands often for 20 seconds or more.
  • Carry disinfectant wipes and use them on door knobs, computer keyboards and mice, and other commonly used surfaces. A list of products effective against flu viruses, including H1N1, are listed at this link: http://www.epa.gov/oppad001/influenza-a-product-list.pdf
  • Do not share glasses, cups, dishes or silverware.
  • If you are in a particularly vulnerable group (e.g., pregnant, have a history of pulmonary problems like asthma or COPD) you may want to purchase an N95 mask, which you can find at Lowe's or Home Depot.
Vaccines for seasonal flu should be ready by mid-September. Vaccines for H1N1 will not be available until mid-October. We are working on getting a provider to offer flu shots at our various sites. We will provide more information on that as we learn more.

You should know that the H1N1 virus isn't much worse than seasonal flu, except for those who are particularly vulnerable. Be careful, be proactive about prevention, but don't stop living your life. As this health scenario unfolds, we will keep you updated.

Page last updated: April 13, 2010