Health Matters
Update on H1N1 Influenza 


Health Center
LoGrasso Hall
State University of New York at Fredonia
Fredonia, NY 14063
(716) 673-3131 or
(716) 673-3132
(716) 673-4722 (fax)

December 11, 2009

                                                                 ~~~REMINDER~~~

H1N1 FLU VACCINATIONS NOW AVAILABLE TO ALL CAMPUS MEMBERS.

The H1N1 vaccine is now available in the health center to any student, staff or faculty member. It will be administered from 9 a.m. to noon, and from 1 to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, while supplies last. Currently both the injectable and nasal spray forms are available.  All members of the campus community are strongly encouraged to take advantage of this free vaccine.

Note: If you are under the age of 18, you will need parental consent.  Consent forms are available at www.fredonia.edu/healthcenter. Please have the completed form with you or faxed to 716-673-4722, Attn: Flu Clinic.

Governor David A. Paterson announced today that, effective immediately, H1N1 flu vaccine will be made available to all New Yorkers who want the vaccine, including those who are outside the initial priority groups.

Since early October, when the H1N1 flu vaccine first became available, New York State has focused on providing access to the vaccine for New Yorkers in priority groups considered at highest risk of serious illness from the flu.  As a result of these efforts and increased supplies of vaccines, it is now appropriate to expand access to the vaccine to help more New Yorkers get protection against the flu.

New York State continues to report widespread H1N1 flu activity for this time of the year, although rates of disease, emergency department visits and hospitalizations for influenza have dropped significantly in the last several weeks statewide.  However, the flu can be unpredictable, and it is very possible that there will be another wave of influenza activity moving into the winter months.  Therefore, there is a window of opportunity in the coming weeks to vaccinate people to provide protection against a possible future wave of the H1N1 flu this winter and spring.   With the supply of vaccine increasing, New Yorkers are being urged to take advantage of the opportunity to protect themselves and their families against the flu.

While the supplies of injectable vaccines are still increasing, supplies of the live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) or nasal spray vaccine are readily available.  LAIV is a safe and effective vaccine option for persons aged 2 - 49  years who are otherwise healthy and not pregnant.  It is a weakened live virus vaccine, which cannot cause influenza. 

The H1N1 vaccine is as safe and effective as the ordinary seasonal flu vaccine and is developed using the same process as seasonal vaccine.   Flu vaccines have consistently had excellent safety records in recent decades, as documented in multi-year studies.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a report on December 4 on the safety of the H1N1 vaccines that found no substantial differences between the safety of the H1N1 vaccines and that of the seasonal flu vaccines (see: http//www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5848a4.htm). Public health officials continue to emphasize that getting the vaccine is much safer than getting the flu.


SUNY Fredonia has a dedicated team of professionals who have been monitoring reports of human cases of Influenza A (H1N1) throughout the region and across the nation. Like much of Chautauqua County and Western New York, our campus has experienced some cases of individuals (students, faculty and staff) presenting what are being referred to in the medical industry as influenza-like illnesses (ILIs). Regular testing is no longer being conducted to confirm if an individual has officially contracted H1N1, but most people with flu-like symptoms at this time are presuming that it is an H1N1 infection.

If you do start to experience flu-like symptoms, we strongly encourage you to isolate yourself so as to not further spread the illness. Students are encouraged to leave campus and return to their homes if private transportation is available, or remain in their residential hall space until at least 24 hours after they are free of fever, or signs of a fever, without the use of fever-reducing medicines. More details on what to do if you experience flu-like symptoms is provided below.

We continue to encourage faculty members to be understanding and flexible with students during this time, and not require doctor's notes or other documentation for reasonable absences from class.

Our Emergency Response Team will continue monitoring the recommendations of the Center for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), and state and local health departments to stay current on H1N1 information. Updates will be posted, when necessary, on the SUNY Fredonia homepage (www.fredonia.edu) and on the campus Health Center website (www.fredonia.edu/healthcenter).

H1N1 Influenza - What you should know….

Signs and Symptoms of H1N1 Influenza

How to protect yourself from getting sick

Here is what you should do if you suffer symptoms of an Influenza Like Illness

Information on the H1N1 vaccine

Course Preparation for Emergencies

 

What is H1N1 Flu?

H1N1 Influenza, referred to as "swine flu" early on , is a contagious respiratory illness like seasonal influenza which can be spread from person to person through the air in droplets when someone infected with the virus coughs, sneezes, or laughs.   

This virus was originally  referred to as "swine flu" because laboratory testing showed that many of the genes in this new virus were very similar to influenza viruses that normally occur in pigs (swine) in North America.  But further study has shown that this new virus is very different from what normally circulates in North American pigs.  It has two genes from flu viruses that normally circulate in pigs in Europe and Asia and bird (avian) genes and human genes.  Scientists call this a "quadruple reassortment" virus.

Are there human infections with H1N1 virus in the United States?

Yes. The new virus was first detected in people in the United States in April 2009. Most people who have become ill with this new virus have recovered without requiring medical treatment.   The CDC routinely works with states to collect, compile, and analyze information about  influenza, and has done the same for the new H1N1 virus since the beginning of the outbreak.

How does the H1N1 virus spread?

Spread of the H1N1 virus is thought to occur in the same way that seasonal flu spread.  Flu viruses  can be spread from person to person through the air in droplets when someone infected with the virus coughs, sneezes, or laughs.    Sometimes people become infected by touching something, such as a surface or object, which contain flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.

What are the signs and symptoms of H1N1 virus in people?

Symptoms of seasonal flu and H1N1 flu include:

  • Fever(greater that 100°F / 38°C)
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle/Body aches
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Some people also may have vomiting and diarrhea

If you become ill and experience any of the following warnings signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Fever and shaking chills
  • Bluish or gray skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Not waking up or lethargy
  • Irritable
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Flu-like symptoms improve, but then return with fever and worse cough

How severe is illness associated with H1N1 virus ?

Illness with the new H1N1 virus has ranged from mild to severe.  While most people who have been sick have recovered without needing medical treatment, hospitalizations and deaths from infections with this virus have occurred.

In seasonal flu, certain people are at "high risk" for serious complications.  This includes people 65 years and older, children younger than five years old, pregnant women, and people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions.  About 70 percent of people who have been hospitalized with this H1N1 virus have had one or more medical conditions previously recognized as placing them at "high risk" of serious seasonal flu related complications.  This includes pregnancy, diabetes, heart disease, asthma and kidney disease.

One thing that appears to be different from seasonal influenza is that adults older than 64 years do not yet appear to be at increased risk of H1N1 related complications thus far. 

How long can an infected person spread this virus to others?

People infected with the seasonal or H1N1 flu shed virus,  and may be able to infect others from 1 day prior to getting sick to 5 to 7 days after.  This can be longer in some people, especially children and people with weakened immune systems .

What can I do to protect myself from getting sick?

  • Practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing.  Bathrooms in our residence halls are equipped with adequate supply of soap and paper towels to promote frequent hand washing.  Alcohol-based hand cleaners also are effective. Extra hand sanitizers are being installed throughout campus and in the resident halls.

How to wash your hands with soap and water

-Wet your hands with warm, running water and apply liquid or bar soap. Lather well.
-Rub your hands vigorously together for at least 15 seconds.
-Scrub all surfaces, including the backs of your hands, wrists, between your fingers and under your fingernails.  The scrubbing will loosen and remove bacteria from your hands.
-Rinse well.
-Dry your hands with a clean or disposable towel.
-Use a towel to turn off the faucet.


How to wash you hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers don't require water , and are an excellent alternative to hand washing, especially in areas where soap and water are not readily available.  

-Apply about 1/2 tsp of the product to the palm of your hand.
-Rub your hands together, covering all surfaces of your hands, until they are dry.
 

  • Practice respiratory etiquette by covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.  If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow or shoulder, not into your hands.  Avoid toughing your eyes, nose or mouth; germs are spread this way.
  • Know the signs and symptoms of the flu.  A fever is a temperature taken with a thermometer that is equal to or greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius.  Look for possible signs of a fever such as feeling warm, a flushed appearance, sweating or shivering.  Other symptoms include headache, fatigue, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, extreme body aches, and possibly diarrhea and vomiting.
  • Find ways to increase social distances (the space between people) in classrooms such as moving desks further apart, leaving empty seats between students, holding outdoor classes, and using distance learning methods.  Ideally, there should be at least 6 feet between people at most times.
  • Establish regular cleaning schedules for frequent cleaning of surfaces and items that are more likely to have frequent hand contact such as desks, door knobs, keyboards, or counters with cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas. Promote frequent cleaning of bathrooms and ensure adequate supplies of soap and paper towels.
  • Encourage students to frequently clean their living quarters.  Students living together should frequently clean commonly-used surfaces such as doorknobs, refrigerator handles, remote controls, and counter tops.
  • Talk to your health care providers about whether you should be vaccinated for seasonal flu.  Also if you are at higher risk for flu complications from 2009 H1N1 flu, you should consider getting the H1N1 vaccine when it becomes available.  People at higher risk for 2009 H1N1 flu complications include pregnant women and people with chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, heart disease, or diabetes).  

Can H1N1 virus be treated?

Yes.  CDC recommends the use of oseltamivir or zanamivir for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with the H1N1 flu virus.  Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines that fight against the flu by keeping flu viruses from reproducing in your body.  If you get sick, antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and make you feel better faster.  They may also prevent serious flu complications.  During the current pandemic, the priority use for influenza antiviral drugs is to treat severe influenza illness (for example hospitalized patients) and people who are sick who have a condition that places them at high risk for serious flu related complications.

Is there a vaccine against H1N1 virus?

Every flu season has the potential to cause a lot of illness, doctor's visits, hospitalizations and deaths.  CDC is concerned that the new H1N1 flu virus could result in a particularly severe flu season this year.  Vaccines are the best tool we have to prevent influenza.  

H1N1 FLU VACCINATIONS NOW AVAILABLE TO ALL CAMPUS MEMBERS.

The H1N1 vaccine is now available in the health center to any student, staff or faculty member. It will be administered from 9 a.m. to noon, and from 1 to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, while supplies last. Currently both the injectable and nasal spray forms are available.  All members of the campus community are strongly encouraged to take advantage of this free vaccine.

Note: If you are under the age of 18, you will need parental consent.  Consent forms are available at www.fredonia.edu/healthcenter. Please have the completed form with you or faxed to 716-673-4722, Attn: Flu Clinic.

Governor David A. Paterson announced today that, effective immediately, H1N1 flu vaccine will be made available to all New Yorkers who want the vaccine, including those who are outside the initial priority groups.

Since early October, when the H1N1 flu vaccine first became available, New York State has focused on providing access to the vaccine for New Yorkers in priority groups considered at highest risk of serious illness from the flu.  As a result of these efforts and increased supplies of vaccines, it is now appropriate to expand access to the vaccine to help more New Yorkers get protection against the flu.

New York State continues to report widespread H1N1 flu activity for this time of the year, although rates of disease, emergency department visits and hospitalizations for influenza have dropped significantly in the last several weeks statewide.  However, the flu can be unpredictable, and it is very possible that there will be another wave of influenza activity moving into the winter months.  Therefore, there is a window of opportunity in the coming weeks to vaccinate people to provide protection against a possible future wave of the H1N1 flu this winter and spring.   With the supply of vaccine increasing, New Yorkers are being urged to take advantage of the opportunity to protect themselves and their families against the flu.

While the supplies of injectable vaccines are still increasing, supplies of the live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) or nasal spray vaccine are readily available.  LAIV is a safe and effective vaccine option for persons aged 2 - 49  years who are otherwise healthy and not pregnant.  It is a weakened live virus vaccine, which cannot cause influenza. 

The H1N1 vaccine is as safe and effective as the ordinary seasonal flu vaccine and is developed using the same process as seasonal vaccine.   Flu vaccines have consistently had excellent safety records in recent decades, as documented in multi-year studies.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a report on December 4 on the safety of the H1N1 vaccines that found no substantial differences between the safety of the H1N1 vaccines and that of the seasonal flu vaccines (see: http//www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5848a4.htm). Public health officials continue to emphasize that getting the vaccine is much safer than getting the flu.

A very limited amount of seasonal flu vaccine is also available.  The charge for the seasonal vaccine is $10/student, $20/faculty or staff.  This must be paid on a FREDCARD. 

Can I get tested for H1N1 virus?

The New York State Department of Health has provided guidance to health care providers and hospitals throughout the state regarding who should be tested for H1N1 flu and what specimens to collect.  Only specialized testing can diagnose H1N1 influenza with certainty. This testing is not available for outpatient clinics, including SUNY Fredonia Student Health Services. Based on information from the Center for Disease Control, this flu season we are seeing a mix of regular "seasonal" Flu and H1N1 Flu. If you are severely ill or worried about your symptoms, contact your health care provider who will determine whether testing is necessary.

What should I do if I get sick with symptoms of an influenza like illness?

  • If a student develops an influenza-like illness (ILI) or is diagnosed with H1N1 flu, he/she should self-isolate at home (leaving campus to return home is encouraged if private transportation is available) or in their residential hall space until at least 24 hours after they are free of fever, or signs of a fever, without the use of fever-reducing medicines.
  • Students who develop difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness, confusion, severe or persistent vomiting, or if flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough, should seek medical care immediately. In an emergency, call 673-3333 from an on-campus location or 911 if you are off-campus.
  • Rest, drink plenty of clear non-alcoholic fluids and take Over-the-Counter medications typically used to treat fever, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

Alternating Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen

If instructed by your healthcare provider to alternate ibuprofen and acetaminophen, do it as follows:

Alternate doses of ibuprofen and acetaminophen every 4 hours.

Alternate medicines for only 24 hours or less, then return to a single product.

  • Students should cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Promptly throw the tissue into the trash and wash hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid having visitors. If visitors must enter your home, they should avoid close contact with you.
  • Stay home, remain out of school, work, sports and community activities until you have been fever free for at least 24 hours without using fever reducing medicines. A fever is defined as 100ºF or 37.8ºC.
  • Upon returning to full activity, follow all infection control strategies including covering your cough, frequent hand-washing, social distancing and not sharing personal care items.

As you recover, remember to take these everyday steps to protect your health and the health of others:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it and clean your hands immediately.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners also are effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
  • Don’t share personal items.
  • Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
  • Avoid getting close to people who are sick. Stay 6 feet away from a sick person.
  • Wash surfaces on your work space with a disinfectant daily.
  • Wipe down shared keyboards, and telephones often.
  • Plan to get a flu shot this fall either on campus or at your doctor’s office.

My roommate is sick with flu-like symptoms – What should I do?

  • A person with the flu is contagious (able to infect others) for 24 hours before symptoms of flu begin, so it is possible you have already been exposed. But to decrease further risk, consider following these precautions:
  • If at all possible, maintain a distance of 6 feet from your ill roommate. An uncovered cough can send the virus 3-6 feet away from the ill person.
  • Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your nose, mouth, eyes.
  • Frequently clean commonly touched surfaces (counters, faucets, doorknobs, etc.).
  • Encourage your roommate to follow the guidelines for self-care on Student Health Services website.
  • Having the ill person wear a facemask can decrease the chances of them spreading the virus to others.

Does Student Health Services write medical notes for students who miss class?


The CDC asks that course instructors not require medical documentation to validate a student’s illness or to return to work, as doctor’s offices and medical facilities (including Student Health Services) will be extremely busy and will not be able to provide such documentation in a timely way.

Will Student Health Services call parents if a student has a flu-like illness, or confirmed case of H1N1?


Student Health Services cannot share medical information with parents of students 18 years of age or older unless authorized by the student to do so. If the student is under 18 years old, the parent will be notified by the student (if possible) or by the treating facility.

Will the college notify parents and students when cases of H1N1 flu appear on campus?

Student Health Services and SUNY Fredonia's Department of Environment, Health, and Safety will have flu information on the Student Health Services web site as well as the SUNY Fredonia Home Page to update the campus on issues related to flu.

How will students be notified if classes are cancelled, the University closes or other emergency information?

  • Students are advised to check the SUNY Fredonia Home Page regularly.
  • Students and faculty should refer to the following website for Course Preparation for Emergencies 

http://www.fredonia.edu/PDC/resources/emergencies.asp

Should I avoid travel to other countries or areas of the United States where H1N1 virus has been identified?

The CDC maintain a Traveler's Health web site at:

http://www.cdc.gov/travel/contentSwineFlurUS.aspx

You should check this site for any restrictions. This site also provides recommendations to help you reduce your risk of infection.

Additional information can be found at the following web sites:

For more information about flu in our community and what our institution is doing, visit http://www.fredonia.edu/healthcenter/ .
For the most up-to-date information on flu, visit http://www.flu.gov, or call 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636).

 

 

 


Page modified 11/26/14