USF senior Gary Au cleans his hands with bacterial sanitizer from one of many dispensers located around campus.
The University of San Francisco is urging students, faculty, and staff
to take steps to prevent the spread of the H1N1 flu virus, also known
as swine flu, and educate themselves on how to respond should they or
someone they know develop flu-like symptoms.
USF has launched a new Web site with the latest flu prevention and response information, including links to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH).
flu symptoms are similar to the seasonal flu and include fever, sore
throat, cough, headache, runny nose, and body aches. A significant
number of people who have been infected with H1N1 have also reported
diarrhea and vomiting, according to the CDC.
requires no medical care. And the majority of those who contract H1N1
recover on their own within five days and can return to work or school
24 hours after any fever has gone.
H1N1 is something to take
preventative measures against and to be treated and managed just as any
seasonal flu virus, said USF Dean of Students and Associate Vice
President Mary Wardell.
With about half of all H1N1 flu cases
affecting people ages 5-24, a special pandemic taskforce has been
meeting at USF since the spring to develop educational strategies and
to ensure containment and the continuity of critical university
business if an outbreak occurs.
“We’ve even looked at what
options are available for continuing student courses that have already
started, whether it be Web based or otherwise,” Wardell said.
first line of defense against any flu is practicing good hygiene, such
as sneezing and coughing into a tissue then disposing of the tissue,
washing your hands frequently with hot soapy water, and remaining at
home if you experience flu-like symptoms.
“People know these
hygienic measures but they forget to practice them,” Wardell said.
“Which is why USF has posted signs in highly trafficked areas,
including the residence halls, to remind students, faculty, and staff
to regularly wash their hands.”
The university has also installed hand sanitizer dispensers at many building entrances.
H1N1 flu vaccine is recommended, in addition to the season flu vaccine
as preventative measures. While the seasonal flu vaccine will help
protect against a number of flu strains, it is not expected to protect
against H1N1. Currently, the H1N1 vaccine isn’t available but USF is in
close communication with SFDPH about the development of the vaccine.
flu shots will be available on campus beginning Sept. 15 and
administrators are attempting to have the same service provided for
H1N1, through local health authorities.
In addition, USF has
asked its janitorial staff to step up cleanings on surfaces such as
doorknobs and staircase railings, as well as in restrooms and communal
areas in the residence halls.
Those who do experience flu-like
symptoms should remain at home, self-isolate from others, choose one
person as a caregiver, and seek medical attention if the illness
becomes severe, according to the CDC.
By preventing the spread
of the virus early, USF hopes to avoid any widespread flu outbreak,
such as those reported at some other institutions of higher learning,