The H1N1 virus vaccine is not currently available, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that the vaccine will be available in the fall. When it is available, more information will be posted on the University’s H1N1 website—there is a link on the homepage or you can access it by going to H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu) Update. Student Health Service (SHS) is strongly encouraging all students, faculty, and staff to receive the seasonal flu vaccine this season. The seasonal flu vaccine is currently being offered at SHS. The cost of the seasonal flu vaccine at SHS is $15 for students and $20 for faculty and staff. Faculty and staff are also encouraged to check with their health care provider who may also be offering the vaccine.
While the seasonal flu vaccine will not cover the H1N1 virus, the seasonal flu should not be understated—between 36,000 and 40,000 people die from the seasonal flu each year. It is recommended that people get both vaccines, especially those who are higher risk for either flu.
Those at higher risk for H1N1 or seasonal flu include:
- Pregnant women
- People who live with and care for children younger than 6 months of age
- Healthcare and emergency medical services personnel
- People between the ages of 6 months and 24 years (this includes most students attending institutions of higher education)
- People ages 25-64 years of age who have chronic health conditions (such as asthma, heart disease, or diabetes) or compromised immune systems
The symptoms of H1N1 flu virus and the symptoms of the seasonal flu are similar. Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue. A significant number of people who have been infected with H1N1 flu virus also have reported diarrhea and vomiting. Avoiding and preventing illness It is believed that the spread of H1N1 virus occurs in the same way that seasonal flu spreads. Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing by people with the flu. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something—such as a surface or object infected with flu virus secretions—and then touching their mouth or nose.
Gallaudet is focused on preventing the spread of the flu in our community and on our campus, and you can help by following these tips:
- Avoid close contact. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick, too.
- Stay home when you are sick. If possible, stay home from work, and school, and avoid running errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
- Cover your mouth and nose. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
- Clean your hands. Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
What to do if you get sick?
If you do get sick and have the symptoms of the flu, stay home. You should do what you can prevent others from getting sick as well by isolating yourself and by limiting your contact with others. The CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone (without the use of a fever-reducing medicine), except to get medical care or for other necessities. Students who have signs and symptoms of the flu should stay in their dorm rooms and contact their Resident Assistant (RA) regarding their illness.
Commuting students should stay at home if they have symptoms. As always, students may also come to SHS for treatment of their symptoms. Faculty and staff should contact their health care provider for further medical instructions regarding specific symptoms.
Additional online resources concerning both seasonal flu and the H1N1 virus are: