Influenza Type A and H1N1 Information
From Sept. 14, 2009 to Nov. 13, 2009, Western experienced a total of of 82 verified cases of influenza-like illness in our student population. The students were not confirmed to have the H1N1 virus, however, the majority of influenza Type A cases were H1N1 during this time period, according to the Gunnison County Public Health Department.
About Influenza Type A and H1N1
H1N1 is a new strain of influenza Type A. Since it is a new strain, the vaccine received for traditional flu will not protect a person from getting this flu. Cases of H1N1 have been reported in the state of Colorado, throughout the United States, and internationally. Symptoms have ranged from mild and not requiring a visit to a medical provider to severe symptoms requiring medical care. H1N1 has components of swine, avian, and human flu. The term “swine flu” that was initially used has been replaced by H1N1. A person does not get H1N1 by being around pigs or by eating pork.
Not sure if you have the flu? Visit www.flu.gov.
Incubation period from exposure to developing symptoms is usually within seven days. Symptoms of influenza Type A and H1N1 flu in most cases are similar to, and no worse than, those caused by typical seasonal flu. Symptoms include fever (usually high, over 100°), headache, fatigue, body aches, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, and occasionally stomach symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.
Remember that there are many illnesses with symptoms similar to influenza that are not influenza at all. For example, a common cold or allergies can cause nasal symptoms and cough. If you have questions about your symptoms or feel you need to be seen because of symptoms, contact your healthcare provider.
In certain instances, the symptoms above may occur in conjunction with other symptoms. This can be indicative of a more severe illness that may require medical attention. Seek medical care if you experience:
- Bluish or grayish skin color
- Severe or persistent vomiting
- Chest pains
- Shortness of breath
- Or any other concerning symptoms
Also seek medical care if you are pregnant or have underlying medical conditions that can be made more severe by the flu.
If You are Feeling Ill
If you have a fever of 100° F or greater and a sore throat or cough, stay home and report your absence to the Office of Student Affairs via phone at 970.943.2232.
Remain self-isolated for 24 hours after your temperature returns to normal without the use of fever-reducing medications. Even after you are feeling better, you may still be contagious, so it’s important to wash your hands frequently and continue to take precautions to prevent spreading the virus.
The majority of individuals can self-treat at home and not see a medical provider.
- Get plenty of rest
- Drink lots of clear liquids (water, juices, Gatorade, soups, etc.)
- Monitor temperature and treat fever. Take Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or Naprosyn (Aleve) to reduce pain and fever as directed:
- Tylenol – 1000 mg every 6 hours (do not exceed this amount)
- Advil or Motrin – 200 mg tablets over the counter; 3 tablets every 8 hours with food
- Aleve – 2 tablets every 12 hours (you may substitute this for Advil but do not take both)
- Do not take aspirin
- Avoid drinking alcohol
- Don’t smoke
- Anti-viral medication, such as Tamiflu and Relenza, might not be necessary for all patients with Type A infection, such as those with mild symptoms. These medications are reserved for use in patients who have underlying health conditions that put them at greater risk for complications due to the flu.
How to Prevent Spreading the Flu
The flu is spread person-to-person by direct contact with respiratory droplets, such as kissing or sharing a drink or by respiratory droplets when the infected person coughs or sneezes. This sends droplets through the air that can be deposited in the mouth or nose of a well person nearby, as much as six feet away. It also is spread by touching a objects contaminated by flu droplets and the contaminated hands are brought to the mouth, nose, or eyes. The flu virus can survive minutes to hours on surfaces.
- Self-isolate until you do not have a fever (greater than 100° F) without the use of fever-reducers for 24 hours.
- If you live in the residence halls and your roommate or suitemate wishes to be moved to another room, please have them contact your resident director or adviser.
- Discontinue usual socializing, including athletic events, church, parties, and visiting friends.
- If you must go out for essential activities (such as an urgent errand) and will be around others, cover your cough, discard tissues contaminated by coughing or blowing your nose, frequently decontaminate your hands by washing or using hand sanitizer, and consider wearing a mask.
- Cover mouth or nose when coughing or sneezing and discard tissue immediately. If a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into your shoulder or inner elbow.
- Wash your hands frequently, especially after sneezing, coughing and blowing your nose.
- Remember that “FRIENDS DON’T COUGH ON FRIENDS.”
- Decontaminate shared items periodically, such as remote controls, refrigerator handles, and doorknobs, and do not share personal items, such as drinks. (Common household cleaners, such as bleach-containing cleaners, Lysol, or other cleaners, such as alcohol-based products, should be effective.)
How to Keep from Getting the Flu
- Stay away from people who are ill.
- Wash hands or use hand sanitizer frequently, especially after being out in public (handling grocery cart, money, using ATM machine, touching doors).
- Do not share personal items, such as drinks.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.