University News

H1N1 Vaccines Available at Beu; Prevention, Policy Information

January 28, 2010


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MACOMB, IL – As the saying goes: "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

Prevention is often the best medicine to avoid the seasonal and H1N1 flu, according to Mary Margaret Harris, director of Western Illinois University's Beu Health Center. These flu viruses are spread mainly from person-to-person through coughing or sneezing by people with influenza. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose. Tips to avoid the transmission of seasonal and H1N1 influenza include covering a cough or sneeze with a tissue or sleeve, not hands; frequent handwashing; staying home when sick; and getting a flu shot.

Seasonal flu symptoms, which develop quickly, include fever and a sore throat and/or coughing, body aches, chills and headache. H1N1 symptoms are similar to seasonal flu and may also include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The symptoms of the common cold are generally much milder than the flu, develop more slowly and usually do not include a fever.

For those who are experiencing flu-like symptoms, self-care should be practiced as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). [www.cdc.gov/H1N1flu/guidance_homecare.htm]. WIU-Macomb students who feel ill should contact Beu Health Center at (309) 298-1888 prior to going to the health center, while WIU-QC students should contact their local health care provider. Employees with flu-like symptoms should contact their local health care provider.

"Health care professionals at Beu are seeing an increase of students with flu-like illnesses. We are entering the traditional flu season, and we expect H1N1 to return as well. If you don't feel well, stay home and avoid contact with others," Harris added. "Students with a flu-like illness who live in group housing, such as a residence hall or fraternity/sorority, should return to their permanent home, if possible, to keep others from getting sick. Consistent with CDC recommendations, individuals with the flu should stay home until free of a fever for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication."

Follow other common sense advice like not sharing cups, straws or eating utensils; avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth; and clean commonly-touched surfaces (door knobs, refrigerator handles, telephones, etc). Also, eat a variety of foods from all food groups, exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep every night. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), proper handwashing is the single most important action that people can take to keep from getting sick and from spreading illness to others.

H1N1 injectable vaccines are available at no cost to WIU students, faculty and staff at Beu Health Center. Appointments are not needed.

Western's policy regarding student and employee absences in the event of a significant H1N1 outbreak remains in effect. WIU-Macomb students missing class as a result of displaying flu-like symptoms or being diagnosed with H1N1 must e-mail their professors directly and copy SDO at SDO@wiu.edu. WIU-Quad Cities students must contact the Office of Academic and Student Services (OASS) at (309) 762-9080. Students will not be counted absent and will be allowed to make up missed assignments and exams.

Employees missing work as a result of displaying flu-like symptoms or being diagnosed with H1N1 need to contact their supervisor as soon as possible. Employees should stay home if exhibiting flu-like symptoms or receiving an H1N1 diagnosis.

For more information about Beu's services, visit beu.wiu.edu or call (309) 298-1888. For more information related to H1N1, visit wiu.edu/pandemic.

Posted By: Darcie Shinberger (DR-Shinberger@wiu.edu)
Office of University Relations