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USA Swine Flu Update
 
     
     
  Subject: H1N1 (swine flu) update for USA faculty, staff and students  
     
  From: Dr. Ronald Franks, vice president for health sciences and chairman, USA H1N1/swine flu preparation committee  
     
  Date: September 10, 2009  
     
  Like other universities nationwide, the University of South Alabama is taking precautions against the H1N1/swine flu virus.   While it is uncertain how much this virus will affect students and employees or whether it will be more severe than regular seasonal flu, reasonable preventative measures and caution are appropriate.  
     
 

Preventive measures:  according to state and national health officials, the best defenses against contracting or spreading seasonal or swine flu include practicing good hygiene and avoiding contact with those who have contracted it.  In general,

 
 
    • wash your hands frequently and use antibiotic soap/hand cleaner;
    • cover your cough;
    • avoid touching or rubbing your eyes or nose without first washing your hands;
    • students should seek medical assistance through the Student Health Center if you have flu symptoms such as fever, coughing, fatigue, stomach distress, etc., while  faculty, staff and their families can be served by USA Urgent Care, located next to the student Health Center;
    • if you have a fever, avoid social interaction by staying at home for at least 24 hours after that fever has ended; and,
    • get vaccinated when the vaccine becomes available.
 
     
 

USA has placed antibiotic handwashing stations and handwashing notices strategically across campus.

 
     
  Student absenteeism:   Students who contract flu-like symptoms are encouraged to avoid coming to class and spreading the virus to others.  Students should isolate themselves until they’ve been without a fever for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication.   Faculty members will be supportive and use discretion in helping these students with make-up work  
     
 

Student services:  students residing in on-campus housing and using a University meal plan may get assistance with their food needs if they are ill.  For more information, contact your resident adviser.

 
     
 

Vaccines:  USA is currently working with local and state health officials and awaiting information on the availability of vaccine for H1NI. USA will publicize this information as soon as it comes available.  Meanwhile, vaccine for the seasonal flu is  expected to be available to students and employees by late September and this information will be publicized.

 
     
 

Pandemic plan:  The Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs is responsible for a pandemic plan should the flu outbreak become widespread and disrupt normal university operations.    Any changes in normal University operations will be widely publicized, well in advance.

 
     
 

Official updates:  official information regarding all elements of USA’s response to H1N1/swine flu will be distributed through the normal weather and emergency notification procedures.  They are: 

 
 
    • USA Weather and Emergency Hot Line at 460-6999
    • USA home page at www.southalabama.edu
    • Campus-wide e-mail
 
     
  USA also provides information to the news media, but always verify with one of the official sources above for the most accurate information.  
     
 

Here are some more sources of information on swine flu and its prevention:

 
     
 

USA Student Heath Center (http://www.southalabama.edu/studenthealth/)
Flu.gov (official U.S. government site).
Alabama Department of Public Health (adph.org)

 
 
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