You have probably been reading about the continued potential for novel H1N1 influenza (swine flu) outbreaks in the U.S., especially in the school setting. We are continuing to monitor the situation and advise that you do also. More detailed information about H1N1 is available at http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/, and http://www.ct.gov/ctfluwatch. Wesleyan has a plan which is in action and which we continue to refine in close consultation with local, state and national health officials and agencies.
Happily, H1N1 is mostly causing mild illness thus far. Our goals are to limit both the number of cases on campus and the severity of the cases we have. With that in mind, there are several important concepts we wish to communicate to students before their arrival on campus this year.
- If you are sick with a flu-like illness, please delay your return to campus until you have recovered. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that individuals with influenza-like illness remain at home and away from other people until at least 24 hours after they are free of fever (100° F [37.8° C] or greater), or signs of a fever, without the use of fever-reducing medications. Influenza-like illness is defined as a fever plus cough and/or sore throat. Symptoms of the flu may include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people with influenza will not have fever. Absence of fever does not mean absence of infection. If in doubt, call your health care provider to discuss your symptoms. Students are encouraged to call the Davison Health Center (860) 685-2470.If you do need to delay your return, please contact your Class Dean and Davis Smith, Medical Director, Davison Health Center firstname.lastname@example.org. Once you have recovered, we encourage you free to call the Davison Health Center (860) 685-2470 to speak with a Nurse and review that you are well enough to return to campus.
- Discuss with your family a plan of action in the event you contract H1N1. Because self-isolation is such a key component of infection control with a pandemic, we highly encourage those able to do so to leave campus for a few days if they become develop a flu-like illness as defined above. We have contingency plans for sick students not able to leave campus.
- Determine whether you are at high risk of complications from H1N1 infection. Pregnancy and other previously recognized high risk medical conditions from seasonal influenza appear to be associated with increased risk of complications from this novel H1N1. These underlying conditions include asthma, diabetes, suppressed immune systems, heart disease, kidney disease, and neurocognitive and neuromuscular disorders. Speak with your health care provider and determine whether or not you qualify as high risk of complications from H1N1 infection.
- Have on hand supplies to take care of yourself or others in the event of illness. See: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/guidance_homecare.htm.
- Stay informed. We are preparing detailed information about H1N1 and Wesleyan’s response to this pandemic. These will be posted to [website] in the next few days and kept updated. We plan early distribution of seasonal influenza vaccine and hope to encourage wide uptake. Once an H1N1 vaccine becomes available, we will notify students of distribution plans. We stand ready to help Wesleyan students prepare for, prevent, manage and recover from H1N1 and any other health problem that may occur while they are on campus.