Dear NAU Staff:
The H1N1 virus—sometimes called the swine flu—continues to spread across the United States and has reached the World Health Organization's designation as a pandemic. Health officials are anticipating a high volume of flu cases early in the fall semester. As a result, you or the people around you may become ill. The symptoms of H1N1 flu virus are similar to the symptoms of seasonal flu and include cough, fever, sore throat, body aches, headaches, chills and fatigue.
So far the H1N1 virus has been similar in severity to the seasonal flu. Most individuals fully recover without needing to seek medical care.
It is impossible to know how the pandemic will affect campus. Northern Arizona University health officials will follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and the Coconino County Health Department in managing the public health issues arising from the spread of this virus. All of our decisions will be based upon the severity of the virus and the numbers of ill individuals and will be made in conjunction with Coconino County health officials.
CDC guidelines say that sick individuals should not go to work or expose others until at least 24 hours after they are free of fever (temperature less than 100° F), without the use of fever-reducing medications. To protect family members the ill individual should wear a mask around others and continually clean surfaces, clean hands, and cover their cough. We are asking faculty, staff, and students to follow these guidelines.
Health officials say H1N1 is so widespread that they discourage individuals with flu-like symptoms from seeking medical assistance unless they have underlying health issues or severe symptoms. Because Fronske officials may be overwhelmed with patients, they too are discouraging anyone who doesn't need immediate medical attention from coming to the center.
A comprehensive prevention and education campaign for the fall semester is under way and includes widespread distribution of posters promoting good hygiene, hand sanitizers installed in hundreds of locations and educational information distributed to every member of our community and parents.
To learn more about H1N1, including symptoms and prevention tips, visit www.nau.edu/flu. Also included on the web site is a link to Work Place FAQ's prepared by the Human Resources Department.
Timothy Fleming, MD