5 things you need to know about H1N1 influenza

9:33 a.m., Nov. 16, 2009----Following are five things members of the University of Delaware campus community need to know about H1N1 influenza, from vaccinations and precautions to the best way to stay informed.

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1. H1N1 vaccinations

The H1N1 vaccine is being distributed by the federal government to the states. In Delaware, that distribution is managed by the Division of Public Health.

There are priority groups, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who are targeted to receive vaccinations first, including pregnant women, caregivers for children younger than 6 months of age and healthcare and emergency services personnel.

To date, UD has not received enough vaccine to cover all the priority groups. Student Health Services has started to contact and immunize students at high risk who have chronic medical conditions, such as transplant patients, those on chemotherapy and immunosuppressant drugs, and students with chronic lung or heart disease. Once the priority groups have been vaccinated, the goal is to offer vaccinations to the general student population. The campus will be notified through e-mail, on the home page and on the H1N1 411 page when the general student clinics will be held, and vaccinations will be administered by appointment at Student Health Services.

If additional H1N1 vaccine becomes available after the general student vaccinations, UD's Student Health Services will ask the state if vaccine can be distributed to faculty and staff.

2. Take precautions

A strong defense is not only a good idea on the playing field. You should observe good hand hygiene by washing your hands frequently with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand cleaner, especially after coughing and sneezing. Remember to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, using a tissue or your elbow or shoulder. And, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

3. No excuses

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that colleges make it “easy for students and faculty and staff members with flu symptoms to miss class or work.” As a result, faculty members are asked not to require medical excuses from students who miss class for influenza-like illness. Student Health Services will not be issuing medical excuses in these circumstances. At the same time, students who are ill should communicate by e-mail with their professors to stay informed about ongoing class activity and makeup of assignments and exams.

4. Feeling sick?

Flu.gov offers an H1N1 Flu Self-Evaluation Web site (http://www.flu.gov/evaluation/) to help you understand flu symptoms. If you have flu-like symptoms, the primary advice is to stay home and avoid contact with others, except to get medical care. For students who are more likely to get flu complications and need to talk to a health care provider, the Student Health Center is open 24/7. Faculty and staff with concerns should contact their personal physicians.

5. Stay informed

Keep up-to-date on what's going on at UD by visiting the special H1N1 411 Web page. And, make sure your contact information is current in the UD Alert System, which you can update online 24/7 at special Web pages for students and staff.