There is understandable public concern about the H1N1 flu, and so I am writing to tell you about Drake’s response to the situation. At present, the disease is more widespread but less severe than had been expected.
Drake University has a response team that is monitoring the situation as it develops, and we are working closely with the Polk County Health Department to monitor public health conditions and make decisions about the responses that will best protect Drake’s students and employees. We will keep you updated with new information as it becomes available to us. For now, everything at Drake is operating as usual.
As you may know, flu can be spread easily from person to person. Therefore, we are taking steps to prevent the spread of flu at Drake University for as long as possible, but, we need your help to accomplish this.
We will be distributing information about flu prevention through a variety of channels as the fall progresses. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, there are a few things everyone can do to help:
- Practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing. Alcohol-based hand cleaners also are effective.
- Practice respiratory etiquette by covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow or shoulder, not into your hands. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth; germs are spread this way.
- Know the signs and symptoms of the flu. Symptoms of flu include fever or chills and cough or sore throat. In addition, symptoms of flu can include runny nose, body aches, headache, tiredness, diarrhea, or vomiting.
- Go home if you have flu or flu-like illness, and stay there for at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever (100 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius) or signs of a fever (have chills, feel very warm, have a flushed appearance, or are sweating). Fever should be assessed without the use of fever-reducing medications (any medicine that contains ibuprofen or acetaminophen). Don’t go back to class or work until you have been fever-free for at least 24 hours.
- Talk with your health care providers about whether you should be vaccinated for seasonal flu. Also if you are at higher risk for flu complications from 2009 H1N1 flu, you should consider getting the H1N1 vaccine when it becomes available. We will let you know when the health center on campus has these vaccines. People at higher risk for 2009 H1N1 flu complications include pregnant women and people with chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, heart disease or diabetes). For more information about priority groups for vaccination, visit http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/vaccination/acip.htm.
If this year’s flu season becomes more severe, we may take additional steps to prevent the spread of the virus. More information will be made available if this occurs.
For students studying abroad and international students, refer to the Web site http://www.cdc.gov/travel for health information for students studying abroad.
For the most up-to-date information on flu, visit http://www.flu.gov, or call 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636).
We will notify you through the Drake Web site (including the parents’ Web page) and the University’s internal blueView portal of any additional changes to our institution’s strategy to prevent the spread of flu on our campus.
Michael J. Renner, Ph.D.
Provost and Professor of Biology and Psychology