To the University of Houston Community
Novel H1N1 pandemic flu is widespread throughout the world. Fortunately, the vast majority of cases are mild and, at this point, the H1N1 virus appears no more virulent or severe than most seasonal flu. This strain does seem to be more frequent in children and young adults because those who are younger than 50 years of age have not yet had contact with a similar type of this virus.
Cases of novel H1N1 have already appeared on most college campuses. We expect to see more cases this fall, consistent with what is happening in public communities. We strongly encourage all members of the UH community to take the standard precautions adopted during the flu season, and to play an active role in our public health prevention efforts.
Public Health Precautions:
It is important for all faculty, staff, and students to take the following flu/respiratory disease precautions:
• Wash your hands with soap and water frequently or use an alcohol-based hand gel, particularly after you sneeze
• Do not share food, drink, or utensils
• Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze
• Throw used tissues in the trash
• Avoid contact with known cases of flu
Combination of the Following Symptoms:
• Fever over 100
• Body Aches
• Upper respiratory symptoms (cough, sore throat, runny nose)
Treatment and Response:
The majority of individuals who contract this virus will not need to seek a doctor's treatment. Faculty, staff, and students who are ill with flu should remain at home (or in their room) for 24 hours after they are fever-free without the use of fever lowering medications.
If you have been in contact with someone who has the flu, onset of the virus can take up to three days. If you experience any flu symptoms within this time period, please stay home to limit the spread of the virus. If you are pregnant or if you have a chronic medical condition such as diabetes, cancer, asthma, heart or lung problems, or a weakened immune system, you should consult with your physician or campus health services to see if Tamiflu or Relenza is needed.
Medication and Vaccinations:
Generally, Tamiflu and Relenza are prescribed for individuals with flu who are either hospitalized, have a chronic medical condition (as listed above, under Treatment and Response), or have a suppressed immune system. Tamiflu/Relenza for influenza is not a cure, and only reduces symptoms and decreases length of recovery time by about 24 hours. Our seasonal flu vaccine will be available for students, staff, and faculty at the Health Center for $16.
The University of Houston's Health Center is following the CDC guidelines suggested for influenza at institutions of higher education. More information on the CDC guidelines is available at the following websites:
Floyd W. Robinson
Director, Health Center
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