Date: September 10, 2009
Recently, information has circulated about two possible cases of H1N1 (commonly known as swine flu) on the campus of Andrews University. Health professionals at University Medical Specialties say they have recently seen patients experiencing flu-like symptoms. In these cases, an in-office test can determine whether or not a patient has influenza, but it cannot determine whether or not it is H1N1. Since H1N1 has already been confirmed in the area, the Berrien County Health Department is no longer accepting samples for testing. According to Dr. Daniel Reichert of University Medical Specialties, if a patient tests positive for the flu, it can be assumed that it is either common seasonal flu or H1N1. In either case, says Reichert, “There is no difference in the symptoms or the appropriate treatment approach.”
As we enter the flu season, faculty, staff and students are encouraged to review the following information regarding flu symptoms, treatment, self-quarantine, when needed, and self-reporting guidelines.
Symptoms of H1N1 are similar to the symptoms of common seasonal flu including fever (greater than 100 degrees), cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Diarrhea and vomiting are also possible symptoms. Any student, faculty or staff member experiencing a fever over 100 degrees along with other flu-like symptoms is strongly encouraged to visit a medical health professional and to self-quarantine.
Treatment and Self-Quarantine
Treatment for H1N1 or any common seasonal flu is the same. If you are sick with any flu-like symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends staying home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, except to get medical care. Your fever should be gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine.
Residence hall students are instructed to report any illness to their residence hall dean. Community students are instructed to report illness to the Student Life office. Faculty and staff are instructed to report to their supervisor.
How the Flu Spreads
Flu is caused by viruses that infect the nose, throat and lungs. The flu and colds usually spread from person to person when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Prevent the Spread of Germs
As with any flu season, you can help prevent the spread of germs in general by following these simple, commonsense recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
• Cover your nose and mouth—ideally with a tissue—when you cough or sneeze.
• Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
• Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
• If you get sick, stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
For further reading on the flu and H1N1, visit www.cdc.gov/flu.