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Loyola closely monitoring H1N1 and reminds the campus community to stay vigilant in prevention efforts

September 4, 2009

Loyola University New Orleans continues to closely monitor the H1N1 (swine) Flu Virus and asks the campus community to practice prevention efforts and check the website homepage for daily updates and information, H1N1 Flu Updates.

The H1N1 Flu task force is continuing to meet regularly to monitor cases, discuss best practices and to provide recommendations for the university community. At this time, Loyola has eight confirmed cases of H1N1. Two students have recovered, three have left campus and are recovering at their respective homes, and three are self-isolating in their residence hall rooms.

All students have been prescribed Tamiflu and the students who are self-isolating have been provided with care kits filled with PowerAde, Vitamin Water, ginger ale, saltine crackers, chicken noodle soup, hand sanitizer, disposable thermometers, acetaminophen and throat lozenges.

Loyola’s custodial contractor is disinfecting the students’ rooms and hallways in their residence halls, and students or roommates who may have come into contact with the ill students have been advised to go to Student Health Services (SHS) if they experience flu-like symptoms. Roommates are also being instructed by a nurse practitioner on prevention efforts they can take.

To help prevent the spread of illness, it is now university policy that any student, faculty member or employee who experiences flu-like symptoms should remain home and not come to class or to work. Symptoms can include fever over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, chills, cough or sore throat, runny nose, body aches, headache, tiredness, diarrhea, or vomiting. Faculty and staff who have these symptoms should immediately contact their primary care physician, and students should contact SHS at (504) 865-3326.

While illness with the new H1N1 virus has ranged from mild to severe, according to the Centers for Disease Control, most people who have become ill with this new virus have recovered without requiring medical treatment. Barring complications, the virus usually runs its course within three days. People at higher risk for H1N1 flu complications include children under the age of 5 years, pregnant women, people of any age who have chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), and people age 65 years and older.

There is no vaccine available right now to protect against 2009 H1N1 virus. However, a 2009 H1N1 vaccine is currently in production and may be ready for the public in the fall. Loyola will offer vaccinations for the seasonal flu strains, until the swine flu vaccination becomes available for distribution.

A limited amount of seasonal flu vaccine will be available to students beginning on Sept. 14 at SHS. The cost to students for the vaccine is $10. Employees who wish to get the seasonal flu vaccine now can find it at Walgreen’s, 718 S. Carrollton Ave., for $24, or at CVS, 4901 Prytania St., for $20. Once more seasonal flu vaccine doses can be attained, the university will make them available to both students and employees at a reduced rate, $10 for students and $20 for employees.

There are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza, and student and employees are urged to take these precautions.

Steps to Lessen the Spread of Flu

The flu season will last through the fall and winter. More than one kind of flu virus will be spreading this season, including seasonal flu and the 2009 H1N1 flu. We encourage everyone to follow these recommendations to stay healthy.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • CDC recommends that when you wash your hands — with soap and warm water — that you wash for 15 to 20 seconds. When soap and water are not available, alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers may be used. If using gel, rub your hands until the gel is dry. The gel doesn’t need water to work; the alcohol in it kills the germs on your hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow or shoulder; not into your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Avoid close contact with those who are sick. If you are in contact with someone who is sick, maintain a distance of six (6) feet when in the same room. If close contact is unavoidable, then the sick person should wear a surgical mask if tolerable.
  • Monitor yourself for flu symptoms. If you experience any symptoms, contact your primary care physician immediately, or if you are a student, contact Student Health Services located on the basement level of the Danna Student Center at (504) 865-3326. Symptoms of flu include fever over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (or chills and cough or sore throat). In addition, symptoms of flu can include runny nose, body aches, headache, tiredness, diarrhea, or vomiting.

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Loyola at a Glance is written and distributed for the faculty, staff, students and friends of Loyola University New Orleans. It is published by the Office of Public Affairs, Greenville Hall, Box 909, 7214 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70118. (504) 861-5888.

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