Campus warned of spike in H1N1 in southeast
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A recent spike in H1N1 cases in the southeast part of the United States has prompted Purdue officials to remind the campus community that vaccinations are still available.
"Although the incidence of H1N1 has declined nationally, regional activity has been reported in the southeast,” said James Westman, director of the Purdue Student Health Center."
Purdue has seen a decline, but a few cases of influenza-like illness diagnosed have been reported. One recent case has been laboratory-confirmed as being H1N1, so despite the decline, the illness is still present in the population.
“Health authorities are still recommending that those who have not already done so get vaccinated," Westman said. "PUSH has a limited supply of the vaccine."
The university has administered the vaccine to more than 6,700 people, including 3,846 students. Vaccinations are available from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays in Room G51 of the Purdue Student Health Center. All of the university's faculty, staff, retirees, students and their spouses/domestic partners are eligible.
There is no charge for students. Purdue identification cards will be needed, and employees also will need to show their Purdue-sponsored insurance card to cover the $12 administration fee.
To date fewer than 4 percent of the students at Purdue have reported influenza-like illness this academic year
To prevent spreading the illness, Westman, advises:
* If you are ill with influenza, do not attend class or go to work. Purdue supervisors may require that ill employees stay home. If you are a student, contact your professors, instructors or employers to let them know you are ill as soon as possible. If you need help with this, contact the Office of the Dean of Students right away.
* If you live in a Purdue residence hall, let your residence hall adviser know. Sick meals can be prepared for you. They also can provide cleaning products for you and those around you.
* Stay home at least 24 hours after your temperature returns to normal without the aid of medicine. This is important to avoid medical complications as well as to stop the spread of the disease
* Isolate yourself, or go home if possible. If you can't do either of these, suggest your roommate relocate until you no longer have a fever and other symptoms. The ill person also should wear a mask when others are present to prevent spreading the infection.
* Use the buddy system. Ask friends to check on you and help buy what you need.
"It's a good idea to have a thermometer and fever-reducing medicine such as acetaminophen on hand," Westman said. "You might also want to put some hand sanitizer in your backpack and living area. The Purdue Student Health Center provides these to patients with flulike symptoms who seek care there."
As with most viruses, flu is spread primarily by coughs and sneezes or by touching contaminated surfaces and transferring the virus by hand to your nose, mouth or eyes. To increase the chances of staying healthy and helping prevent spread, he suggests:
* Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
* Cough into your sleeve or a tissue to prevent spreading germs. Do not cough into your hands. Dispose of tissues in a wastebasket.
* Refrain from spitting and sharing beverages, food or eating utensils with others.
* Wash your hands with soap under warm running water for 20 seconds and rinse your hands well. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
* Dry your hands using a paper towel or air dryer. If possible, use the paper towel to turn off the faucet and turn the doorknob. Be sure your hands are dry before directly touching anything.
* Consider getting a vaccination against the seasonal flu, now available at the Purdue Student Health Center. While vaccines will not protect against H1N1, they will protect against previously known flu strains.
More ways to minimize risk can be found at the CDC's Web site on homecare at http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/guidance_homecare.htm
Flu symptoms usually appear 24-48 hours after exposure to the virus, and people remain contagious for up to seven days after the onset of symptoms.
Basic flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue, chills and body aches.
Seek emergency care immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:
* Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
* Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
* Sudden dizziness