NEWSROOM

H1N1 flu: TU preparedness, updates

Last updated: May 6, 2009

There have been 4 cases of H1N1 flu confirmed in Maryland. To date we have had no confirmed or probable cases of H1N1 flu on the TU campus. However, it is important to remain vigilant and to take prompt action to reduce the spread of H1N1 flu if probable cases do occur. To help us in our flu surveillance efforts, we have updated our guidelines for students. Please review the following guidelines, and visit the Dowell Health Center's Response to Flu-Like Illness and Suspected Cases of H1N1 Flu for more information.

Campus residents: If you develop flu-like symptoms:  fever (greater than 100º F) and cough or sore throat,  rather than leave campus to go home immediately, we ask that you contact the Student Health Center to be screened for possible H1N1 flu (swine flu) and to rule out strep throat or other causes of your symptoms.  First of all, confirm your fever using a thermometer. You can obtain a disposable Temp-Dot thermometer from the Front Desk of your residence hall.

If it is determined that you have a suspected case of flu, you will be given appropriate treatment and told to go home until it is confirmed.  If you cannot go to your family home by car, notify your community center (front desk) and they will have a staff member contact you.

If H1N1 infection is confirmed, (which may take several days), you must stay at home for seven days from the onset of your symptoms or until you are symptom-free for 24 hours, whichever is longer. You will be given verification of illness by the Health Center and your professors will be notified by the vice president for student affairs if you miss five or more days of class.You should also contact your professors to arrange for make-up work or exams.

If you are confirmed to have H1N1 flu, your roommates and suitemates will be notified to contact the Health Center for possible preventive treatment.

Students living in off-campus housing or at home: If you develop flu-like symptoms, you may also contact the Dowell Health Center for evaluation and treatment of your symptoms or contact your own health care provider. If you are suspected of having H1N1 flu, please inform your professors and stay off campus until H1N1 infection is confirmed or ruled out. (If confirmed as H1N1, remain at home for at least 7 days from the onset of your symptoms or until you are symptom free for 24 hours.)   If you were initially seen at the Health Center, you will be given verification of illness.  Please do not come to the Health Center for verification if you were seen by another health care provider.

Please visit Dowell Health Center Web site to view the Medical Excuse Policy.

 

In an effort to continuously monitor and update the campus community on the H1N1 flu situation, we request that faculty and staff observe the level of absenteeism in their classes and administrative departments in the coming weeks. Faculty should report any significant increase in student absentee levels or sick leave to the Provost’s Office via the department chairs and deans. Supervisors should report any significant increases in staff absenteeism to the Office of Human Resources via their departmental directors and vice presidents. The Emergency Preparedness Committee will record these increases and use them as a basis for future decision-making.

The university continues to follow the basic strategies laid out in the Pandemic Flu Plan.

Please note that the plan assumes a virus of much greater severity than H1N1, and its guidelines will be scaled back accordingly. In particular, the travel guideline dictating a 7- to ten- day quarantine of individuals who have been in areas exposed to the virus will be eased to a recommendation that these individuals self-monitor their symptoms. Individuals should avoid coming to campus and contact their health care provider if they develop a fever above 100º F and have a cough or sore throat.

As with any other seasonal flu, exercise precautionary measures to avoid becoming ill or spreading an illness to others.  Cover the mouth or nose when sneezing or coughing and wash your hands after touching possibly contaminated surfaces and especially after shaking hands.

For questions about the situation in Maryland, call 1-877-MDFLU4U (633-5848), 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday–Friday. and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends.  The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will accept flu questions by e-mail at swineflu@dhmh.state.md.us.

For additional details on the H1N1 flu virus nationwide, visit the CDC's H1N1 Web site.

If you are experiencing anxiety about the H1N1 outbreak, go to the American Psychological Association Web site for tips on managing your stress.                       

 

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