Frequently Asked Questions about H1N1 Flu - Students
What is SIUE doing about H1N1?
- Departments have been identified that are essential to the continuing operations of the university during a crisis. These departments have been required to prepare continuity of operation plans to ensure that they can provide vital services in a pandemic crisis.
- A Pandemic Planning Committee has been established and is now meeting on a weekly basis to stay current on H1N1 issues, to educate the campus community and to develop procedures to respond to a possible pandemic situation.
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) sheet and related university procedures have been prepared regarding H1N1.
- A web site devoted to pandemic flu issues has been established. http://www.siue.edu/misc/h1n1.shtml
- The Emergency Management and Safety Department and University Health Services remain in close contact with local, state and federal agencies to receive their recommendations regarding H1N1.
- SIUE has an all hazard emergency plan that is up-to-date and includes a pandemic annex.
- SIUE conducts emergency exercises on an annual basis to prepare for disaster situations.
- The University has an emergency team that will operate in an emergency operations center in the event of a crisis situation. This team is compliant with the National Incident Management System (NIMS).
What is H1N1 (Swine) Flu?
H1N1 (commonly referred to as “swine flu”) is a new influenza virus causing illness in humans. This new virus was first detected in the United States in April 2009. It is spreading from person-to-person worldwide, in much the same way that regular seasonal influenza viruses spreads.
How does H1N1 (Swine) Flu spread?
Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing. You may become infected by touching a flu-infected surface and then touching your mouth or nose. Once infected you may be contagious to others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and for 7 or more days after becoming ill.
What are symptoms of H1N1 (Swine) Flu?
Symptoms for H1N1 flu may include fever (usually 100° or higher), headache, upper respiratory tract symptoms (cough, sore throat, runny nose), muscle aches and pains, fatigue, vomiting, and/or diarrhea. Illness among these infected with H1N1 flu virus has typically been treated at home, but some cases have required hospitalization and deaths have been reported.
What surfaces are most likely to be sources of contamination?
- Germs can be spread when a person touches a contaminated surface and then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Droplets from the cough or sneeze of an infected person move through the air.
What can I do to protect myself from getting the flu (seasonal or H1N1)?
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.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth as germs are frequently spread in this way.
- Avoid close contact with infected people.
- 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.) Maintain distance from others as much as possible to avoid spreading infection.
Will I be protected against H1N1 Flu if I receive the seasonal flu vaccine?
The seasonal flu vaccine is helpful in protecting you from the seasonal flu. It is not expected to also help protect you from the H1N1 flu virus.
What do I do if I have influenza like illness (ILI) symptoms?
- You don’t need to go to the emergency room unless you have severe symptoms, such as breathing problems.
- If you are sick, you may be ill for a week or longer. Stay in your room/home (or make plans to go home). Avoid close contact with others as much as possible, including travel, work and school, 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 fever-reducing medicine.)
- For sneezes and coughs, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue. Immediately throw away used tissue, and clean hands after each sneeze or cough.
- Avoid close contact with others.
- Get plenty of rest. Drink clear fluids to avoid dehydration.
- If you experience the following symptoms, seek medical attention immediately:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- Sudden dizziness
- Severe persistent vomiting
- Flu-like symptoms improve then return with fever and worsened cough
Do I need prescription medicine if I have influenza like illness (ILI) symptoms?
No, most people recover without prescription meds. If you are at high risk* for complications from the flu, you may need to discuss medications with your physician (high risk* includes pregnant women, people with asthma, diabetes or other conditions affecting the heart, lungs, blood, liver or kidneys, and people with weak immune systems).
Fevers and aches can be treated with acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®, Nuprin®) or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). Examples of these kinds of medications include:
Ibuprofen- Motrin, Advil, Nuprin
- Over-the-counter cold and flu medications used according to the package instructions may help lessen some symptoms such as cough and congestion. These medications do not however reduce contagion.
- Check the ingredients on the package label to see if the medication already contains acetaminophen or ibuprofen before taking additional doses of these medications—don’t double dose! Patients with kidney disease or stomach problems should check with their health care provider before taking any NSAIDS.
For more information on products for treating flu symptoms, see the FDA website. - http://www.fda.gov/fdac/features/2005/105_buy.html
Will I be notified if someone at SIUE has a confirmed case of H1N1 flu? If yes, then how?
Yes, you will be notified if a confirmed case of H1N1 occurs at SIUE. Surveillance of H1N1 is a matter of Public Health and therefore case information will be released in generic format (no individual names will be released). Information will be posted on the Health Service and Madison County Health Department websites.