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How to Protect Yourself: Prevention 

Learn how to protect yourself from H1N1 Influenza A and other viral infection.

What can you do to reduce your chances of becoming ill?

The CDC Web site includes the following information about measures to take to help avoid infection:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Wash with soap and water or clean with alcohol-based hand cleaner (60% alcohol based or higher). CDC recommends that when you wash your hands -- with soap and warm water -- that you wash for 15 to 20 seconds. Singing "Happy Birthday" to yourself as you wash your hands can help you remember how long to wash them. When soap and water are not available, alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers may be used. 

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.

  • Avoid kissing or close contact (a distance of 6 feet or more is recommended at all times) with people who are sick or if you are experiencing flu symptoms. 

  • Avoid sharing drinks or food with other people. This includes sharing drinking cups, as is commonly done in some drinking games.

  • Sorority and Fraternity Recruitment: Encourage hand washing, make hand sanitizer available, clean common areas often, and limit hugging and other close contact.


What is the best way to keep from spreading the virus through coughing or sneezing?

Sick students, faculty and staff should stay at home or in their residence until at least 24 hours after they 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 medicine (any medicine that contains ibuprofen or acetaminophen).

Keep away from others as much as possible. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Put your used tissue in the waste basket. Then, clean your hands and do so every time you cough or sneeze.

What steps can students, faculty, and staff take to stay healthy and keep from spreading the flu?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends four main ways you may keep from getting sick with the flu:

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

  2. 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.

  3. If you are sick, stay home or at your place of residence 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). Staying away from others while sick can prevent others from getting sick too. Ask a roommate, friend, or family member to check up on you and to bring you food and supplies if needed.

  4. Talk to your health care provider to find out if you should be vaccinated for seasonal flu and/or 2009 H1N1 flu. Information about 2009 H1N1 flu vaccination can be found at www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/vaccination. Information about seasonal flu vaccine can be found at www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/keyfacts.htm.


Is there a vaccine for H1N1?

Seasonal and H1N1 flu vaccine will be made available for Ohio University benefits-eligible staff and faculty members at Hudson Health Center on Wednesday, Jan. 20, and Thursday, Jan. 28. The shots will be given from 8 a.m. until noon and from 1 to 4 p.m. in Hudson Health Center 101.

There is no preregistration and there are no health or age restrictions for receiving the vaccine.

When should I wash my hands?

  • After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
  • Before preparing or eating food
  • After going to the bathroom
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has gone to the bathroom
  • Before and after tending to someone who is sick
  • After handling an animal or animal waste
  • After handling garbage
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound

When washing hands with soap and water:

  • Wet your hands with clean running water and apply soap. Use warm water if it is available.

  • Rub hands together to make a lather and scrub all surfaces.

  • Continue rubbing hands for 20 seconds. Need a timer? Imagine singing "Happy Birthday" twice through to a friend.

  • Rinse hands well under running water

  • Dry your hands using a paper towel or air dryer. If possible, use your paper towel to turn off the faucet

Remember: If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based gel to clean hands.

When using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer:

  • Use a product that has at least 60% alcohol as the active ingredient.

  • Apply product to the palm of one hand

  • Rub hands together

  • Rub the product over all surfaces of hands and fingers until hands are dry.

For a video on effective hand washing tips, click here.

What actions should pregnant students, faculty or staff take to protect themselves from the flu?

Pregnant women should follow the same guidance as the general public related to staying home when sick, hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette and routine cleaning.

Pregnant women are at higher risk of complications from flu and, like all people at higher risk, should speak with their health care provider as soon as possible if they develop flu-like symptoms. Early treatment with antiviral flu medicines is recommended for pregnant women who have the flu; these medicines are most effective when started within the first 48 hours of feeling sick.

Pregnant women should know that they are part of the first priority group to receive the 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine when it becomes available. Seasonal flu vaccine is also recommended for pregnant women and can be given at any time during pregnancy.