Health Matters Newsletter


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)

Announcements:

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.

Flu Vaccine Information:

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.

 

H1N1... What you should know

 

Plan  Healthy New Year

Small steps can make a big difference in your health for this new year.

1) Get a complete checkup. 

2) De-stress.  Try 10 minutes of meditation or yoga.  Simple stretches can loosen tense muscles in the neck, back and legs.  Or blow off steam by exercising, dancing or even relaxing in a hot bath.

3) Stand up straight. If you are a sloucher , start by taking a look at yourself in a full length mirror.  Good posture balances the head directly above the neck and a straight spine.  Try standing against a wall.  The back of your head shoulde be about an inch away, and your shoulder blades and buttocks should touch the wall.

4) Eat breakfast.  Start the day right with fruit, a whole grain, high fiver cereal, and a source of protein such as soy milk, eggs, or a protein powder smoothie.

5) Take your vitamins.  A daily multivitamin will help keep your immune system in check, and help you get the nutrients you might not be getting in your normal diet.

6) Stay fit.  Make exercise a part of your routine.  Just 30 to 40 minutes of physical activity a day will help you stay fit for life.

 

Hand Washing 101

Hand washing: A simple way to prevent infection

Did you know?

Hand washing is a simple habit - one that requires minimal training and no special equipment.  Yet, it's one of the best ways to avoid getting sick.  This simple habit requires only soap and warm water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer -- a cleanser that doesn't require water. 

When should you wash your hands?

It's impossible to keep your bare hands germ-free,  however, there are times that exist when it's critical to wash you hands to limit the transfer of bacteria, viruses and other microbes.

Always wash your hands:

-After using the bathroom.
-After changing a diaper.
-After touching animals or animal waste.
-Before and after you eat.
-Before and after preparing food, especially before and immediately after handling raw meat, poultry or fish.
-After blowing your nose.
-After coughing or sneezing into your hands.
-Before and after treating wounds or cuts.
-Before and after touching a sick or injured person.
-After handling garbage.
-Before inserting or removing contact lenses.
-When using public restrooms, such as those in airports, train stations, bus stations and restaurants.

Proper hand-washing techniques

Good hand-washing techniques include washing your hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Antimicrobial wipes or towelettes are just as effective as soap and water in cleaning your hands .

Just a word on antibacterial soaps.

Antibacterial soaps , although popular, are no more effective at killing germs than are regular soap and water.  Using these antibacterial soaps may lead to the development of bacteria that are resistant to the products' antimicrobial agents, therefore, making it harder to kill these germs in the future. In general, regular soap is fine.  

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

February 2010
A survival guide for the Cold and Flu season

Welcome to the February 2010 issue of the Health Matters Newsletter.  The Health Matters Newsletter is published on a monthly basis on the Health Center home page, and is linked to the weekly Campus Report.  The purpose of the newsletter is to share information regarding pertinent medical issues with the students, faculty and staff here at SUNY Fredonia.

As winter ramps up, so does the dreaded cold and flu season.  And this year brings with it a pandemic that has every one of us on alert. During this past fall semester, and while the second wave of the H1N1 virus was hitting our nation, we saw a number of people with "influenza like symptoms", aka the flu.  As we begin the spring semester, we are faced with typical colds, seasonal flu, and most likely the return of the H1N1 in a third and hopefully final wave for this pandemic.  Here are some tips for keeping you and your family healthy during this cold and flu season.

What is the difference between a cold and the flu?

How to Keep Yourself Healthy during the Cold and Flu Season.

Do I still need to worry about the H1N1 virus?

 

What is the difference between a cold and the flu?

How many times have we dismissed sniffles as “just a cold: and carried on with a stuffy nose and sinus congestion assuming that the symptoms would eventually subside?   Because flu symptoms are quite similar to cold symptoms, it’s often hard to tell the difference.   Flu symptoms hit you quick and are more intense then that of a typical cold.   The common cold eventually fizzles, but the flu can be deadly.  It is important to know the differences, and to seek medical attention appropriately. 

The flu is a viral infection caused by the influenza virus.  The common cold is also a viral infection caused by the adenovirus or coronavirus and there are many, many subsets with a lot of variability of both.   This is why there is no cure for the common cold and no vaccine available.  The flu is known to be from influenza and is preventable with vaccination.

Flu symptoms usually come on quickly (within 3-6 hours) and consist of a fever, body aches, dry cough and extreme tiredness.  Colds are less severe and people experience a runny nose, congestion, and sore throat.  The flu can cause an epidemic or a pandemic with the potential for mortality, whereas the common cold is just a nuisance for us.

The following chart can help you compare flu symptoms with cold symptoms.  Remember that if you are experiencing flu like symptoms, it is best to contact your medical provider or the student health center for assistance in managing these symptoms.

Symptoms

 

Cold

Flu

Fever

Rare

Characteristic, high (100-102 degrees F) usually lasting 3-4 days.

Headache

Rare

Prominent

 

General  body aches

Slight

Usual; often severe

 

Fatigue, weakness

Mild

Can last up to 2-3 weeks

 

Extreme Exhaustion

Never

Early and prominent

 

Stuffy nose

Common

Sometimes

 

Sneezing

Usual

Sometimes

 

Sore throat

Common

Sometimes

 

Chest Discomfort, Cough

Mild to moderate; hacking cough

Common; can become severe

 

 

How to Keep Yourself Healthy during the Cold and Flu Season .

1)      Don’t panic. First, don’t panic about what you hear on the media.  Take a deep breath.  Keep in mind that our bodies are capable of fighting viruses and illnesses. A positive outlook on life can go a long way.  Happy people seem to be sick less often than unhappy people. 

2)      Get plenty of Zzzzzzzzzzzz.  Studies have shown that sleep deprivation can make you more susceptible to illness by reducing the number of cells in your body dedicated to fighting things like microbes or infections. The average adult needs about 6-8 hours of sleep each day. 

3)      Bust a move.  Exercising helps boost your immune system and overall makes you look and feel better.

4)      Engage in germ warfare.  Be obsessive about keeping your hands clean, since this is the major way that germs and viruses are spread.  Research has shown that frequent hand washing (5 or more times a day) can reduce the chances of getting sick by almost 50%. 

Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.  Sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice while vigorously lathering the palms, between fingers , around nail beds, and the backs of hands.  Pay close attention to hand hygiene before and after each meal, after playing outside, using the bathroom, handling pets, blowing noses, and after being anywhere in public.

Sneeze and cough into your arm or a tissue.  Coughing into your hands puts the germs right where you can spread them to any object or person you touch.

5)      Drink up. Drink lots of water.  Staying hydrated flushes out germs, and improves the moisture level in your skin.  Hydration also helps the immune system to work properly.  Limit alcohol and caffeine, since they can actually dry out your body even more.

6)       Air out.  Open a window or two in your home just a crack for a few minutes each day.  You will let out indoor air pollutants that may be stressing your immune systems as well as chase away germs.

7)      Keep it cool.  An overheated home promotes dry air, the perfect environment for viruses to thrive.  This dry air can affect your mucous membranes as well.  When the mucous membranes  in your nose, mouth and tonsils are dry, they can’t trap germs very well.  By lowering the heat in your house just  5 degrees and using a humidifier, you will be well on your way to a healthier level of humidity for fighting back on infections.

8)      Pump up with produce.  Eating a well balanced diet including fruits, veggies, proteins, and healthy fats is needed for immune function and maintenance.  

9)      Go easy on the sweets.  Sugar makes the body acidic, just the way pathogens like it (they thrive on sugar). 

10)   Quit smoking.  If you smoke, quit.  Smoking suppresses immune cells from doing their jobs.  Immune function starts improving 30 days after a person stops smoking.

11)   Take a daily multivitamin.  A daily multivitamin is fine for good health, but don’t overload yourself with Vitamin C, Zinc, and other herbal remedies valued for immune support.  There is a thin line between just enough and too much.  Too much of anything is going to suppress rather than boost.

12)   Bundle Up.  When it is extremely cold, your blood leaves your arms and your legs,  and heads for your core in order to keep  your vital organs warm.  If you are cold and shivering, your system will concentrate all available energy into raising your core temperature rather than fighting germs, so you are much more apt to get sick.   Gloves, hats, scarves, and thick socks all work to keep you warm and well.

Do I still need to worry about the H1N1 virus?

Every flu season has the potential to cause a lot of illness, doctor's visits, hospitalizations and deaths.  The threat of the H1N1 flu is still very serious and very real. The virus is unpredictable and it's unclear whether we'll see a third wave of outbreak. The increase in vaccine supplies means that now is a good window of opportunity to get yourself, and your family, vaccinated. This is the best way to keep ourselves and our communities safe and healthy in the new year.

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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