Information on Influenza A(H1N1) - (Swine Flu)

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As of May 11, 2009, the H1N1 virus is considered a mild strain; presenting no significant threat at this time in comparison to seasonal influenza.

The UW Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases (ACCD) reminds you that the best means of stemming spread of the disease is to stay home if you begin to experience any flu-like symptoms and contact your health care provider if you experience a persistent high fever (greater than 101 degrees F.) chest pain, difficulty breathing, dehydration, or other worrisome symptoms. From the onset of symptoms, you are considered infectious for seven days and should stay home for that duration. The incubation period for the strain of influenza (from time of exposure to onset of symptoms) is considered to be seven days, as well. It is also good hygienic practice to wash your hands frequently and cover your coughs.

The ACCD will continue to monitor the situation with heightened alerts about the fall influenza season and possible mutation.

Symptoms

The symptoms of swine influenza are the same as the seasonal influenza. These symptoms are:

  • Fever over 100 degrees
  • Body aches
  • Coughing
  • Sore throat
  • Respiratory congestion
  • Possible vomiting and diarrhea

What to do

Persons returning from areas with active cases with flu symptoms should contact their health care provider.

Tacoma campus students, staff and faculty at the University of Washington who are exhibiting these symptoms are strongly encouraged to call Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department to report any suspected cases on their 24-hour reporting line: (253) 798-6534.

If you need to seek medical care, it is better to contact your health care provider by phone or other remote means before seeking care in the medical clinic or hospital. If you don't have health insurance or a physician, call (253) 798-6500 for help. Medical clinic referrals can be found at the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department website.

This will help Tacoma Pierce County Health Department identify any swine influenza cases early. Also, the UW is in the process of setting up a Campus Health System website to collect information regarding employee illness to track any unusual clusters of respiratory illnesses. More information will be distributed once this has been established.

Ways to prevent illness

Simple precautions can greatly reduce the risk of spread. These include:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze or cough. An alternative is to cough into your sleeve if you do not have a tissue.
  • You can get a facial mask from the Office of Student Health and Wellness in MAT 253.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water frequently. You may also use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
  • If you are sick with the above symptoms, stay home from school and/or work.
  • There is no current vaccine to prevent swine influenza virus.

More information

Information from the CDC, WHO and local health officials is evolving. The following websites will provide the most up-to-date information:

Posted on behalf of the University of Washington Tacoma Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases (ACCD) representatives Susan B. Wagshul-Golden, director of Campus Safety and Cedric B. Howard, associate vice chancellor of Student Affairs

 

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Written: 
May 12, 2009