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Employee H1N1 Update 10-1-09 

Dear faculty and staff,
Ohio University continues its efforts to keep the university community informed about H1N1 influenza A, previously referred to as "swine flu." First detected in the United States in April 2009, the virus is spreading from person-to-person worldwide, probably in much the same way that regular seasonal influenza viruses spread.
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 influenza-like illness (ILI) at this time are most likely to have H1N1.
For more information about H1N1 and how to increase your chances of staying healthy, visit the university's H1N1 Web site. The site now has a Q&A posted at www.ohio.edu/h1n1/faculty.cfm with general information to address employee questions related to H1N1, provided by University Human Resources.

We continue to do everything we can to keep our institution operating as usual. 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 flu-like illness 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 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). For more information about priority groups for vaccination, visit www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/vaccination/acip.htm.

The University has a project underway 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.


Luis Lewin
Chief Human Resources Officer