UHS Sends Out H1N1 Advice and Updates
University Health Services (UHS) sent out a rather lengthy email regarding the H1N1 Swine Flu Virus to students, faculty and staff. The email describes the threat the virus still poses to Penn State, particularly during flu season which starts in late September or early October. As we’ve been hearing in the last few months, the virus occurs most commonly in individuals aged 5 to 25 years, and is particularly virulent in academic setting.
University Health Services, guided by public health recommendations, is focusing on the mitigation of the disease because of the predicted high number of cases for this coming Fall. As we’ve reported before, the main recommendations are the same for reducing the spread of H1N1. Things like proper hand washing and maintaining proper “cold etiquette” are paramount to prevent the virus from spreading like wildfire.
UHS is also stressing the importance of NPIs (non-pharmacological interventions) which instruct stricken students to stay away from public activities. Obviously, a college atmosphere isn’t an easy place to follow these NPI guidelines. Students that live in the residence halls are asked to leave campus and return when feeling better (at least 24 hours after the fever has broken).
And just when you thought things couldn’t be more optimistic, UHS alludes to possible future plans:
If the H1N1 strain that occurs in the fall is more virulent than the strain currently causing illness, recommendations will be modified and could become more stringent.
It is possible that the semester could be cut short if the virus spreads to a high percentage of the Penn State population. Students would be sent home and staff would work to sanitize public spaces. It’s hard to say what would such a drastic measure would mean for tuition, grades and the Penn State way of life.
Let’s just hope it doesn’t come to that. We wouldn’t want a Championship Football Season to be interrupted, much less our academics.
Links for your perusal:
- UHS H1N1 Updates
- Form to sign up for UHS Family Health Line News Service
- If you have questions, direct them to [email protected]
- Centers for Disease Control (CDC)’s page on H1N1
Note: The animation is not actual Swine Flu under a microscope [source] in case you aren’t a biology/immunology/science major.