Novel H1N1 influenza (also known as swine flu) update:
As we know from various news reports, the H1N1 flu strain is making its way through other college campuses and communities this fall. So far, we have not had any confirmed cases come through the Health Center, but there is anecdotal evidence that H1N1 is on campus. Thus, it remains a potential risk for students, faculty, and staff. Please continue to cover your cough and wash your hands often. The emergency response plans are still in effect as were laid out at the beginning of the semester. The web pages of both the SMCM Health Center <http://www.smcm.edu/health/Swine%20Flu%20Update1.html> and the Emergency Response Team <http://www.smcm.edu/emergency> carry up to date information regarding H1N1 on campus.
The H1N1 vaccination is available in our Health Center by appointment for all current students, staff, and faculty of St. Mary's College as well as current staff of Historic St. Mary's City.
The symptoms of H1N1 include:
- High fever
- Sore throat
- Body aches
The symptoms last 7 to 10 days. The treatment is supportive care:
- Lots of fluids
- Tylenol (acetaminophen) for fever
Contact your doctor if you have trouble breathing or symptoms of dehydration. SMCM students should contact the health center at ext. 4289 if they have symptoms.
The best defense against the flu is a good offense.
- Avoid close contact with ill people
- Cover your cough (sneeze or cough into your sleeve; use a tissue if available and then throw that tissue in the trash)
- Thorough and frequent hand washing with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing, or using alcohol-based hand cleaners
If you have an Influenza-Like Illness (ILI), do not go to class or to public gathering places like the Great Room. Contact your faculty member, the Health Center, and arrange for your friends to bring you meals to go.
How does novel H1N1 virus spread?
Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing by people with influenza. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something - such as a surface or object - with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.
Take these everyday steps to protect your health:
- 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. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective. CDC recommends that when you wash your hands -- with soap and warm water -- you wash for 15 to 20 seconds. When soap and water are not available, alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers may be used. If using gel, rub your hands until the gel is dry. The gel doesn't need water to work; the alcohol in it kills the germs on your hands.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
What is the best way to keep from spreading the virus through coughing or sneezing?
If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.) 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 are the signs and symptoms of this virus in people?
The symptoms of novel H1N1 flu virus in people include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. A significant number of people who have been infected with this virus also have reported diarrhea and vomiting. Severe illnesses and death have occurred as a result of illness associated with this virus.
In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include: