Northern Virginia Community College recently received confirmation of its first H1N1 case at the Annandale Campus. The individual attended classes from September 7 -11 but has been ordered by the family’s personal physician to stay home until the symptoms subside.
Although we have yet to experience a high number of confirmed cases of H1N1, we like to remind everyone that we are not immune to an H1N1 outbreak and we encourage everyone to continue to take the appropriate steps as requested by the CDC to stay healthy. We advise students, faculty and staff to take the proper precautions to prevent the spread of germs:
If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, we ask that you stay home, notify your supervisor, and contact your healthcare provider. As NOVA continues to monitor this situation closely, we will continue to provide information and updates to ensure a safe campus environment.
Know the flu symptoms. H1N1 symptoms are similar to the seasonal flu: fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Diarrhea and vomiting are also possible.
Stay home if you have flu or flu-like illness for at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever (100 degrees Fahrenheit) or signs of a fever (have chills, feel very warm, have a flushed appearance or are sweating). This should be determined without the use of fever-reducing medications (any medicine that contains ibuprofen or acetaminophen).
Ask your health care provider if you should be vaccinated for seasonal flu. If you are at higher risk for flu complications from the H1N1 flu, consider getting the H1N1vaccine when it becomes available.
For information about priority groups for vaccination, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Stay informed. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides current flu information at http://www.flu.gov/.
The CDC reports, that the seasonal flu vaccine is unlikely to provide protection against novel H1N1 influenza. However a novel H1N1 vaccine is currently in production and may be ready for the public in the fall. The novel H1N1 vaccine is not intended to replace the seasonal flu vaccine – it is intended to be used along-side seasonal flu vaccine.
The groups recommended to receive the novel H1N1 influenza vaccine include:
- Pregnant women because they are at higher risk of complications and can potentially provide protection to infants who cannot be vaccinated.
- Household contacts and caregivers for children younger than 6 months of age because younger infants are at higher risk of influenza-related complications and cannot be vaccinated. Vaccination of those in close contact with infants less than 6 months old might help protect infants by “cocooning” them from the virus.
- Health care and emergency medical services personnel because infections among health care workers have been reported and this can be a potential source of infection for vulnerable patients. Also, increased absenteeism in this population could reduce health care system capacity.
All people from 6 months through 24 years of age
- Children from 6 months through 18 years of age because we have seen many cases of novel H1N1 influenza in children and they are in close contact with each other in school and day care settings, which increases the likelihood of disease spread .
Young adults 19 through 24 years of age because we have seen many cases of novel H1N1 influenza in these healthy young adults and they often live, work, and study in close proximity, and they are a frequently mobile population.
- Persons aged 25 through 64 years who have health conditions associated with higher risk of medical complications from influenza.
For more information visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
What are the symptoms?
- Symptoms are similar to the seasonal flu
- Symptoms may include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue; possibly diarrhea and vomiting
What are the emergency warning signs?
Seek immediate medical care if you experience:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- Sudden dizziness
- Severe or persistent vomiting
- Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough
What is NOVA doing to protect faculty, staff and students?
- Taking appropriate measures to provide a clean environment to help prevent the spread of H1N1 and other germs
- Providing alcohol-based hand sanitizers in common areas
- Educating faculty, staff and students
What are my responsibilities?
- Stay home when sick or go home if you become sick. Tell your professor or supervisor about your symptoms if you suspect flu.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
- Wash Hands-before & after eating, after using restroom, after using common items such as telephones, computers etc…
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
Where can I learn more?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Virginia Department of Health
This blog serves to provide all NOVA, faculty, staff and students with official college information pertaining to emergency management issues, such as the H1N1 virus. Look for regular blog updates on a weekly basis and when an emergency situation arises.
Check out our new blog where the NOVA Emergency Planning office communicates directly with you to provide you important updates.
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