H1N1 & Seasonal Flu

Learn about Who Needs A Flu Vaccine.

Marshall University is committed to providing a safe and healthy learning, work, and living environment.  We are actively taking steps to ensure the health and welfare of our students, faculty, staff, visitors, and community.  When you enter our buildings you will find hand sanitizer stations in the lobby and other common area(s).  We have trained to our custodial staff on the proper cleaning and disinfection procedures that must be taken.  We have trained our Housing and Residence Life staff about the virus, how it spreads, signs and symptoms of the illness, and what to do when residents become ill.  We have also trained our Greek community on the above topics.  We have posted signs reminding students, faculty, staff, and visitors to wash their hands often, as well as other steps to prevent the spread of influenza.  Lastly, we continue to provide up-to-date information via this web page.

 

*** Flu Shots:  Information about additional upcoming flu clinics is available from the Cabell-Huntington Health Department, and will be posted here when an immunization clinic is scheduled on campus. No appointment is necessary for these free clinics.

 

The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) recommends that everyone receive the seasonal flu vaccine.  Emphasis is always placed on early vaccination of high-risk individuals. More information is available below about high-risk individuals.

 

H1N1 Flu:

H1N1 is a type A influenza virus.  It is not the same virus that causes illness in pigs and you do not get the virus from eating pork products.  H1N1 virus is very contagious and spreads from human to human in a manner similar to the seasonal influenza virus; mainly through droplets created when ill persons cough or sneeze.  To a lesser extent, commonly used objects like door knobs and keyboards can become contaminated, and the virus can be spread to health persons who touch these contaminated surfaces then touch their eyes, nose, or mouth.

People who become ill with seasonal and H1N1 flu will spread the virus for up to 24 hours before they feel sick, and from 5 to 7 days after they began to feel sick.  This can be longer in some people.

H1N1 has a greater impact on persons 0-25 years of age, so prevention and awareness about the illness is extremely important.  Those with underlying conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease, or any condition that compromises the immune system are also at greater risk of having complications if infected by H1N1 and should consult with a medical

It is very important for persons in these high risk categories to receive the vaccine when it becomes available.  It is anticipated that vaccine will be available in October.

 

Signs and Symptoms:

The symptoms of H1N1 flu are similar to the symptoms of the regular seasonal flu and include:

    • fever of 100.4 o F or greater
    • cough
    • sore throat
    • runny or stuffy nose
    • body aches
    • headaches
    • chills
    • fatigue
  • A significant number of people have also reported diarrhea and vomiting.

Severe illness and death have occurred as a result of illness associated with this virus.

Fever is a key factor, but it is not always present with H1N1 flu. If you have the other symptoms listed but have no fever, call your personal health professional or Student Health Services for advice.

If you have any chronic illnesses such as asthma or diabetes, or are pregnant, please discuss any precautions that you might need to take with a health professional.

Student Health Services is located on the second floor of the Marshall Medical Center at Cabell Huntington Hospital. Walk-ins are welcome from 8:00 am to 10:45 am and 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday, when classes are in session. However, appointments are strongly encouraged and can be set up by calling (304) 691-1100.

 

Keep the Herd Healthy!
Prevention Measures:

  • Hand washing is always the best method to prevent the transmission of disease.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water.
    • Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are effective when soap and water is not readily available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
    • Influenza is spread mainly by person-to-person contact through droplets created by the coughing and sneezing of infected people.
  • Follow announcements from Marshall University and public health officials regarding school closures, avoiding crowds, and other social distancing measures.
      • Enroll yourself in MU Alert to receive up-to-date emergency notifications.  To enroll, go to myMU and select the MU Alert icon in the top right corner.

    Click for a larger image.

Treatment and Taking Care of Ill Persons:

What Should I Do If I Feel Sick? - click here for CDC recommendations about what to do if you get sick with seasonal or H1N1 flu.

    • Students that are sick with a flu-like illness should, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities.
    • Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicine before you return to classes or other social activities.
    • While you are ill stay away from others as much as possible to keep from making others sick.  This includes avoiding classes, social activities, eating in dining halls, and going out.
      • You will need to notify the Dean of Student Affairs, hensley@marshall.edu (304) 696-6423 to arrange for University-excused absence.
      • Be prepared to stay home for a week or so.  Have a supply of over-the-counter medicines including ibuprofen or acetaminophen not aspirin, alcohol-based hand rubs, tissues, sports drinks and bottled water, a thermometer, disinfectant spray, and face masks to wear if you must enter common areas or be around roommates or other healthy persons.
    • Ill persons are encouraged to self-care as the illness is presently mild and most people do not require medical attention. The use of fever-reducing medication, drinking plenty of fluids, and resting are the main means of dealing with the flu.
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you sneeze and cough, put tissues in the trash after you use them, then wash your hands or use an alcohol-based sanitizing gel if soap and water is not readily available.

 

Do I Really Need to Go Home When I’m Sick?

      • Yes, in accordance with guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, colleges and universities are asked to have ill students return home where they can be cared for by family members.  While Marshall makes every effort to make attending our university feel like home, nothing compares to actually being at home where loved ones can take care of you.  Parents should make plans now for how they will pick up their ill child.  Ill persons are encouraged to not drive themselves and to not take public transportation in order to prevent the spread of illness.  Parents, please develop a plan to have your child return home in case they become ill.

What Do I Do If I’m Sick and Can’t Go Home?

    For Students Living in Residence Halls:

      • Students living in residence halls are encouraged to notify their Resident Advisor (RA) immediately upon experiencing flu like symptoms.
        • RAs can assist with information about ordering meals to be delivered to you.
        • RAs can also assist with obtaining a private/empty room for the duration of your illness (if a vacant room is available).
      • Ill students living in residence halls are also encouraged to move to a private room (if available) away from healthy students in order to minimize the spread of the virus.
        • Housing and Residence Life staff will check on ill students throughout their illness.
        • Students are asked to provide a cell phone number so Housing and Residence Life staff can keep in touch with them.
        • These rooms will be provided with bed linens and bottled water.  Other necessary items should be taken with the student.

    For Students Living Off Campus:

      • Students living off-campus that are unable to return home are asked to isolate in their room and self-care.
        • You should drink plenty of liquids and you may want to take over-the-counter medications to alleviate symptoms.
        • If you are sick and sharing a common space with others, wear a facemask, if available and tolerable, to help prevent spreading the virus to others.
        • It would be a good idea to establish a “flu buddy.”  Someone who can bring you meals and medications, and to take care of one another.  Remember, if you are around someone who has flu like illness (within 6 feet) you or they should wear a mask to prevent droplet spread transmission, and wash hands after caring for ill persons.
        • To learn more about how to take care of someone who is ill, visit the CDC’s Taking Care of a Sick Person in Your Home

 

Medications and Anti-Virals (Tamiflu)

 

      • Fevers and aches can be treated with acetaminophen (Tylenol®), ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®, Nuprin®), or naproxen (Aleve®).
        • Over-the-counter cold and flu medications used according to the package instructions may help lessen some symptoms such as cough and congestion. Importantly, these medications will not lessen how infectious a person is.
        • Check the ingredients on the package label to see if the medication already contains acetaminophen or ibuprofen before taking additional doses of these medications—don’t double dose! Patients with kidney disease or stomach problems should check with their health care provider before taking any NSAIDS.
      • Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaler) with activity against influenza viruses.
        • There are four influenza antiviral drugs approved for use in the US (oseltamivir, zanamivir, amantadine and rimantadine). The H1N1 virus is resistant to amantadine and rimantadine; to date, laboratory testing has indicated that it is susceptible (sensitive) to oseltamivir and zanamivir.
        • Antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and make you feel better faster. They may also prevent serious influenza complications.
        • Work best when started soon after illness onset (within 2 days), but treatment is still possible after 48 hours of symptom onset, particularly for hospitalized patients or people at high risk for influenza-related complications.
      • Warning! Do not give aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) to children or teenagers who have the flu; this can cause a rare but serious illness called Reye’s syndrome.

 

Where to Seek Medical Care:

Student Health Services is located on the second floor of the Marshall Medical Center at Cabell Huntington Hospital. Walk-ins are welcome from 8:00 am to 10:45 am and 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday, when classes are in session. However, appointments are strongly encouraged and can be set up by calling (304) 691-1100.

There are 2 local hospitals, and the Emergency Department of both are available 24/7. The CDC recommends that ill persons self-care, as the illness is generally mild and most people do not require medical attention. The use of fever-reducing medication, drinking plenty of fluids, and resting are the main means of dealing with the flu.

 

When to Seek Emergency Medical Care - call Public Safety at 696-4357 (HELP), or dial 911 if you are sick and:

      • have difficulty breathing or chest pain
      • have purple or blue discoloration of the lips
      • are vomiting, and are unable to keep liquids down
      • have signs of dehydration such as dizziness when standing, absence of urination
      • have seizures (for example, uncontrolled convulsions)
      • are less responsive than normal or become confused

 

Informational Resources:

 

 

 

Seasonal Influenza (Flu):

The seasonal influenza virus behaves much like the H1N1 variant.  It is spread mainly by person-to-person contact through droplets created by coughing or sneezing of infected people.  The seasonal flu has a greater impact on young children, older people, and people with certain health conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease); these individuals are at high risk for serious complications.

Signs and symptoms of seasonal flu are similar to the common cold and H1N1 Flu.

The flu is worse than the common cold, and symptoms such as fever, headaches, body aches, extreme tiredness, and dry cough and sore throat are more common and intense. Colds are usually milder than the flu. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose.  Colds generally do not result in serious health problems, such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitalizations.

      For more information visit the

CDC’s influenza web site

      .