As we prepare for the start of a new term, University Health Services (UHS) strongly encourages faculty and staff to take simple preventive actions to limit the spread of seasonal influenza (flu).
Health officials throughout the nation and Wisconsin are seeing increasing levels of flu-related illnesses and hospitalizations. The majority of illnesses are caused by the A/H1N1 virus, the same virus that caused the influenza pandemic during 2009.
If you have not been vaccinated, get vaccinated as soon as possible through your local healthcare provider or pharmacy. The H1N1 strain in this year’s vaccine is well-matched against the 2009 A/H1N1 flu strain and should be very effective.
Most people with the flu have a mild illness and do not need medical care or antiviral drugs. Employees with questions or those at high risk for complications should contact their healthcare provider. People at high risk include young children, adults age 65 and older, pregnant women, and people with certain chronic medical conditions.
Employees can help reduce the impact of the flu on campus by following these simple tips:
- If you develop flu-like symptoms (fever with a cough and/or sore throat), it is a campus expectation that faculty, staff, and students stay home from work and class, and limit contact with others until you are completely free of fever for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing medications. This will take 3 to 5 days for most people.
- Wash hands frequently and thoroughly throughout the day; shield others by coughing or sneezing into your sleeve or disposable tissues. Try to avoid casually touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- If you have not been vaccinated, get vaccinated as soon as possible through your local healthcare provider or pharmacy. This year’s vaccine is well-matched with the strain responsible for the current outbreak.
By following these good health habits, you’re not only protecting yourself, but you’re protecting those around you who may be at risk for more serious complications.
Helpful flu resources
- Key facts about influenza http://www.cdc.gov/flu/keyfacts.htm#whatis
- What to do if you get sick http://www.cdc.gov/flu/takingcare.htm
- Every day actions to prevent getting sick http://www.cdc.gov/flu/pdf/freeresources/updated/everyday_preventive_9-24.pdf
- Caring for someone sick at home http://www.cdc.gov/flu/pdf/freeresources/updated/influenza_flu_homecare_guide.pdf
- Looking for resources for your workplace?
- Visit www.uhs.wisc.edu/health-topics/flu/campaign-resources.shtml for printable flu, cough, and hand washing signs and flyers.