flu season guidance for higher education
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[August 28, 2009]
SPRINGFIELD -- As students
arrive on campuses to begin the fall semester, Dr. Damon T. Arnold,
state public health director, stresses the importance of Illinois
higher education institutions following new federal guidance
designed to help keep students, faculty and staff healthy during the
upcoming flu season.
"The seasonal flu and H1N1
flu will be circulating at the same time this flu season. However,
unlike the seasonal flu, the H1N1 virus appears to be impacting a
younger population, including college-aged students not accustomed
to getting a flu shot or a severe case of the flu," Arnold said.
"The department is urging colleges and universities to follow
federal strategies to help reduce exposure to the flu and keep
students, faculty members and other staff healthy, while at the same
time continuing to hold classes."
The public health director
recommended the following:
students, faculty and staff, except those with
contraindications, to get a seasonal flu shot as soon as the
vaccine is available.
When people get
sick, separate them as soon as possible from those who are well.
hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette. Practice the three
your hands frequently to prevent the spread of germs.
your cough or sneeze with your elbow or sleeve.
Students and staff should stay home if they're sick.
Establish a method
for maintaining contact with students who are sick.
who are sick to stay at home or in their residence until at
least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever of 100 degrees
F or more. If possible, students, faculty and staff who live in
campus housing should return to their family's home while ill.
visitors with flu-like illness from attending
institution-sponsored events until the visitors are free of
fever for at least 24 hours.
Establish regular schedules for
frequent cleaning of commonly touched surfaces, such as desks,
tables, chairs, cafeterias, doorknobs, handrails and computers.
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Should illnesses from H1N1 flu become more severe, IDPH may suggest
additional guidance, including:
Institution administrators should work closely with local health
officials when deciding to suspend classes and should consider
various criteria, such as not being able to maintain normal
functioning or if the flu starts causing severe illnesses in
Cancel, postpone or discourage mass
gatherings, including sporting events, performances,
commencement ceremonies, and fraternity and sorority parties.
The department is encouraging everyone except those with
contraindications to get a seasonal influenza flu shot this year as
soon as it is available in their communities. Getting a flu shot is
the best way to protect against becoming ill with the flu.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working to
develop a vaccine for H1N1 flu, which is separate from the seasonal
flu vaccine. Initial shipments of H1N1 vaccine are expected to be
available in mid-October. The seasonal flu vaccine is one shot for
most people, but it's anticipated the H1N1 vaccine will require two
shots. The H1N1 vaccine is not intended to replace the seasonal flu
vaccine -- it is intended to be used in addition to seasonal flu
For more information, go to
Department of Public Health
file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]