The DeSales Emergency Management Office (DEMO) monitors reports concerning the H1N1 (flu) outbreak. While the World Health Organization has declared a pandemic it is important to realize that this does not signify severity, only frequency of occurrence worldwide. We recommend vigilance and practical steps to remain healthy. While H1N1 cases continue to manifest and its impact on the fall semester is unfolding…
While students may become flu-sick, we believe that we can continue our educational mission as usual at this time.
- PREVENT THE FLU! Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds and use hand sanitizers frequently, especially at public computer stations, before and after eating, before and after using bathrooms, and when using common work stations such as those found in Trexler Library. New sanitizer stations have been installed in a variety of locations around campus; please, use them. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Get adequate sleep and good nutrition. Avoid alcohol and do not smoke. Keep stuff on hand in case you get the flu: a thermometer, sports drinks, tissues, etc.
- VACCINATIONS. CDC recommends both the seasonal and H1N1 vaccines. However, the Pennsylvania Department of Health reports that supplies of the vaccine coming to Pennsylvania are still limited and there are no public vaccine sites. None the less, CDC does not anticipate shortages and believe they will catch up on production. Consult your physician on obtaining the vaccine. For information on the vaccine go to: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/vaccination/public/vaccination_qa_pub.htm.
- SYMPTOMS OF H1N1 FLU ARE SIMILAR TO SEASONAL FLU. “The symptoms of 2009 H1N1 flu virus in people include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea. People may be infected with the flu, including 2009 H1N1 and have respiratory symptoms without a fever” (CDC, 2009). For practical reasons, we assume people have H1N1 if they have the flu; note the treatment for both seasonal and H1N1 flu is the same.
- UNDERLYING MEDICAL CONDITIONS. 2009 H1N1 flu may affect people with underlying medical conditions differently. You should seek medical attention immediately if any of the following symptoms manifest: shortness of breath, chest pain, high fever that lasts beyond three days, confusion or delirium.
- WHAT TO DO IF YOU GET SICK. Per CDC guidance, students and faculty “with flu like symptoms should stay away from classes and limit interaction with other people (called “self-isolation”), except to seek medical care, for at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever, or signs of a fever, without the use of fever-reducing medicines.” Remember to let your instructor know that you will be absent.
- GETTING HELP. If possible, students should report their symptoms by phone BEFORE seeking medical care, to the University Health Center (Ext. 1232) or their personal physician. Our professional health team staffs the Health Center (located in the McShea Student Center) Weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Health Center can provide excellent guidance on how to relieve your discomfort from the symptoms associated with the flu.
- SAFEGUARDING OTHERS. If a student with the flu must leave their dorm room or off-campus housing to receive medical care or to obtain necessities, they should sneeze or cough into the crook of their arm, avoiding discharges directly onto the hands. If close contact cannot be avoided, CDC recommends wearing a surgical mask to reduce exposure from respiratory droplets.
- SELF ISOLATE. Faculty, staff, and administrators should follow the same guidance by “self-isolating.” Inform your supervisor so we can measure the potential for the flu’s impact on the well being of the University Family.
- Health emergencies on campus and of any kind should always be reported to the University Police. Call extension 1250 from a campus phone, or 911 from either a campus or cell phone.
- Department heads should report flu-sick employees to the Human Resources Department. Call extension 1660.
- Program Directors/Academic Deans should report flu-sick students to the Graduate Dean’s Office, which is serving as the Academic Dean’s lead for emergency preparedness. Call extension 1430 or 1289.
- The Graduate Dean’s Office and the Human Resources Department will report cases to the University Health Center. Call extension 1232. The Health Center will conduct medical surveillance and will report their findings to the DeSales Emergency Management Office (Ext. 2242).
- For pastoral care: Campus Ministry at Ext. 1898 or 1313
- For psychological care: Campus Counseling Center at Ext. 1214 or 1462
The University continues its mission. Vigilance, awareness, and prevention remain the strongest defenses. DSU continues to implement prudent and reasonable safeguards in accordance with approved protocols. The CDC website remains the best single source for common sense guidelines to prevent getting the flu or taking action should you develop symptoms: http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/.
For Lehigh County: http://ema.lehighcounty.org/Home/tabid/148/Default.aspx
For Higher Education: www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/institutions/guidance
For the world: www.who.int/csr/don/en
For the U.S.: www.cdc.gov/swineflu
For PA: www.dsf.health.state.pa.us/health/cwp/view.asp?q=252990
For NJ: www.nj.gov/health/er/swineflu
For NY: www.state.ny.us
For NYC: www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/home/home.shtml
For DE: www.delaware.gov
If you have concerns about your personal health, please contact the Health Center or your personal physician.
MARK PLAUSHIN, OSFS
Director, DeSales Emergency Management Office (EXT. 2242)
--Updated November 2, 2009
Read Father Plaushin's Op Ed piece as published in the Morning Call: Collaborative approach could help campuses confront H1N1