campus news & events

Sept. 17, 2009

Prevention and Preparation for Seasonal Flu and the H1N1 Virus

The new school year is underway, and as predicted by the Center of Disease Control, we are seeing cases of influenza. We urge you all to eat well, drink plenty of fluids, get plenty of rest, and exercise to maintain your well-being, and a healthy community.

Please be aware that there are two goals in our national and local flu response: 1) to minimize severity of illness and 2) to minimize spread to others. If you do have flu symptoms that include fever of 100F (37.80 C), please call Baird Health & Counseling Center and request an appointment at x3621.

For flu, BHCC will set up phone-in appointments. You will be called at the appointed time and your symptoms will be evaluated. If flu is diagnosed, you will be asked to go home and convalesce until your fever resolves. If you cannot go home, to the extent possible, self-isolation in your residence is recommended. Care packages (mask, non prescription medication, thermometer, fluids, drinks and soup) will be available through Baird Health and Counseling Center and/or the residence staff.

Students with flu are advised not to attend class and athletic or social events until 24 hours after the fever resolves without the use of fever reducing medication. Students are responsible for communicating with faculty to assure that they meet class requirement throughout a flu illness.

At this time, testing is not recommended to differentiate seasonal flu from novel H1N1. Treatment and precautions will be the same to minimize the spread and severity of the virus.

Seek immediate attention for:

• intractable fever >104 degrees F (persistent, not going away)

• intractable vomiting

• breathing difficulty

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that everyone take the following actions to stay healthy:

• Practice good hygiene by washing your hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.

• Cover 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.

• Frequently clean your living quarters. You should frequently clean commonly-used surfaces such as doorknobs, refrigerator handles, remote controls, computer keyboards, countertops, faucet handles, and bathroom areas. Do not share dishes, glassware, toothbrushes or other intimate objects.

• You should get both a seasonal flu shot and the vaccine for the H1N1 virus when the vaccines become available. Baird will host clinics in which students can get the seasonal flu vaccine this fall. The college will also seek to obtain the H1N1 vaccine to make it available for you.

• Be sure to keep the following supplies on hand: digital thermometer, bottled water and sports drinks, soups or microwaveable meals (if you will have a microwave in your room), tissues, disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer. (Supplies may also be purchased from the campus bookstore.)

If You or Your Roommate Become Ill

You are advised to take these steps if you or a roommate develops flu symptoms.

• Students who are ill with fever and respiratory symptoms should call the Baird Health and Counseling Center at x3621 to schedule an appointment or seek advice and instruction. You should isolate yourself to the extent possible for at least 24 hours after the fever resolves (do not attend classes or visit the dining hall, gym, library, etc.).

If you have these symptoms and must leave your residence hall or home to seek medical care or other necessities, you should cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing. A tissue, other covering (e.g. shirt sleeve) or a surgical mask can be used to cover the cough or sneeze.

• E-mail your instructors to notify them if you must miss class due to illness.

• Students who are well but have a roommate with the flu: Following consultation with Baird, it may be recommended that your roommate be isolated in your room for at least 24 hours or be asked to return home to recover. (You may be asked to temporarily relocate to another room on campus.)

You can attend classes or visit the dining hall as usual, but you should carefully monitor your health every day. If you become ill, you should contact Baird immediately and consider going home to recover, if possible.

Plans are underway at Colby-Sawyer to further educate our community about the H1N1 flu and prepare for the prevention of and response to severe flu on campus.

Please visit Baird Health and Counseling Center's Flu Update site at www.colby-sawyer.edu/campus-life/bhcc/fluupdate.html, as well as the college's home page to see if Health Alerts are posted at www.colby-sawyer.edu and to find more information about symptoms and what to do to avoid contracting the virus.

Other Important Resources

• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/

• The World Health Organization: www.who.int/csr/disease/swineflu/en/

• New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services: www.dhhs.state.nh.us/DHHS/DHHS_SITE/swineflu.htm

Baird will seek to reach out to those individuals who may be at higher risk for complications of influenza, as identified by health records, but we ask that all students who believe they have such risk factors to identify themselves to Baird staff once they arrive on campus.

We also encourage students to consult with their personal physicians for additional guidance for the upcoming flu season. Each one of us should actively seek to follow the recommendations above and do all we can to keep ourselves healthy.

Sincerely,

Dave Sauerwein

Dave Sauerwein, Vice President, Student Development and Dean of Students

dsauerwein@colby-sawyer.edu

Pam Spear

Pam Spear, Director, Baird Health and Counseling Center

pspear@colby-sawyer.edu