12 Tips to Help Prevent Cold and Flu

1. WASH YOUR HANDS: This is still the best way to prevent colds and flu. Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 15 seconds. Use “hand sanitzer” when washing facilities are not available.

2. USE A TISSUE INSTEAD OF A HANDKERCHIEF: Wipe or blow your nose and immediately throw the tissue away. Handkerchiefs continually spread germs to your hands and face.
3. DON’T TOUCH YOUR FACE: Touching your eyes, nose or mouth is a fast way for germs to get into your body.

4. COUGH AND SNEEZE AWAY FROM OTHERS: Instead of coughing or sneezing into your hands, turn away from others, cough or sneeze into your sleeve or use a tissue.

5. WATCH THAT MOUTH: Avoid placing objects such as pens or pencils into your mouth. Also avoid licking your fingers when eyes, nose or mouth is a fast way for germs to get into your body.

6. TAKE CARE AT WORK/In Classroom: Clean your area and phone often. Wash your hands after using the bathroom, lunchroom, copy/fax machine, and any other space that is used by others. Some germs can survive on objects for hours or a few days.

7. BE AWARE OF COMMUNITY SPACE: Doorknobs, light switches, refrigerator doors, bathroom and kitchen counters, telephones, computers, and remote controls are all places germs can reside.

8. USE HAND SANITIZERS: Keep liquid or gel hand sanitizers or anti-bacterial wipes handy.

9. TEACH YOUR CHILDREN: Children are very susceptible to colds. Teach them to wash their hands often with soap and warm water. Saying the ABCs while washing their hands assures they wash long enough (at least 15 seconds).

10. DON’T SHARE CUPS: Use paper cups in the bathrooms and kitchen.

11. DON’T SHARE FOOD UTENSILES: This may be difficult for most to do at home but it is important so you can not pass it back and forth.

12. USE DISPOSABLE PRODUCTS: Germs can live on towels and sponges for hours so use paper towels in the kitchen and bathrooms or wash bathroom hand towels often. Disinfect sponges by running them through the dishwasher and replace them frequently.

First Confirmed Case of H1N1- NOVA Annandale

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/.

H1N1 Vaccine Recommendations

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

H1N1 Awareness

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

Welcome!

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.

At the end of each entry is a Comment section you can click on to make comments or ask questions about college emergency related issues. Next, click on the Publish Your Comment button. Your comment or question will appear in the Comments area.