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H1N1 Update for the University Community 

Following is the text of message that was distributed via e-mail to all Ohio University faculty, staff and students on Oct. 1, 2009.


Dear students, faculty and staff,

On Friday, September 25, Hudson Health Center sent a specimen for H1N1 testing from a student who tested positive for Influenza A. The results of that test, which were received today, were positive. Individual health care providers as well as the Ohio Department of Health determine when to perform these tests on individuals who have influenza-like illness (ILI).

We ask that our University community keep in mind that the general treatment for ILI, whether it is seasonal influenza or H1N1, is the same. For this reason it is not essential in most cases to determine whether they are H1N1 or seasonal flu.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the Northern hemisphere, winter is the time for flu. While seasonal flu outbreaks can happen as early as October, most of the time influenza activity peaks in January or later. As the time for seasonal flu is not yet upon us, individuals experiencing ILI at this time are most likely to have H1N1.

We continue to emphasize that prevention is the key to reduce your chances of becoming ill. Here are a few things you can do to help:

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

  • 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 touching your eyes, nose, or mouth; germs are spread this way.

  • Know the signs and symptoms of the flu. Symptoms of the H1N1 flu virus are the same as those for seasonal flu and include: fever (100 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius), cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue, diarrhea and vomiting, in some cases.

  • Stay home if you have flu or ILI for at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever (100 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius) or signs of a fever (have chills, feel very warm, have a flushed appearance, or are sweating). This should be determined without the use of fever-reducing medications (any medicine that contains ibuprofen or acetaminophen).  Don't go to class or work. 

  • Talk with your health care provider about whether you should be vaccinated for seasonal flu. Also, if you are at higher risk for flu complications from H1N1 flu, you should consider getting the H1N1 vaccine when it becomes available. People at higher risk for H1N1 flu complications include pregnant women and people with chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, heart disease, or diabetes). For more information about priority groups for vaccination, visit www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/vaccination/acip.htm.

I want to emphasize that a pandemic is not a cause for panic. It is understandable that the widespread and seemingly constant media reports about H1N1 Influenza A may cause anyone to experience feelings of uneasiness or worry.  Ohio University has resources available to assist with these feelings of anxiety and moving towards a positive outlook.  

Students are reminded that they can call Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) 24 hours a day/seven days a week at 740-593-1616 to speak with a counselor. Walk-in hours are available from the CPS office in Hudson Heath Center from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. CPS also provides consultation to faculty, administrators and parents of students.

The University has a project under way and has entered into an agreement with the Athens County Health Department to operate as a point of delivery for the H1N1 vaccine. We are planning to make the vaccine available to students as well as faculty and staff and their families. We will update you as details of that project develop.

For more information about H1N1 and how to increase your chances of staying healthy, visit the university's H1N1 Web site at www.ohio.edu/h1n1.

Thank you for your continuing efforts to keep Ohio University a healthy and safe place.

Sincerely,

Ryan Lombardi
Dean of Students