H1N1 flu update from SMU Health Center: May 1, 2009

As the 2008-09 flu season begins to wind down, confirmed cases of H1N1 flu, also known as swine flu, have sprung up in Texas. Megan Knapp, health educator in SMU’s Memorial Health Center, sent the following e-mail update to all University faculty, staff and students on Monday, April 27:

As many of you have heard, there are now confirmed cases of swine flu in Texas as well as in Mexico, California, Kansas and New York. Officials at SMU, along with those at Dallas County Health and Human Services, are monitoring the situation to detect any cases locally.

Due to population density and foreign travel, university communities are susceptible to the spread of communicable diseases. Please be vigilant regarding your personal hygiene and health habits.

To help prevent the flu:

Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer frequently, especially after touching common surfaces (door handles, railings, etc.).

Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze with either a disposable tissue or your sleeve.

Avoid contact with people who are sick.

If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms (sudden fever/chills, cough, body aches, fatigue), it is important to see a medical provider as soon as possible. To be effective, antiviral medications should be started within 48 hours after symptoms begin. Persons who may have the flu should stay at home as much as possible to avoid spreading the illness.

Flu vaccines administered in fall 2008 and winter 2009 do not protect against H1N1 flu, and currently, there is not a human vaccine for this illness.

For 24-hour medical advice, students can call SMU’s Health Center at 214-768-2141. Faculty and staff should contact their personal healthcare providers.

SMU will continue working with Dallas County Health and Human Services on this matter. For more information about swine flu, please visit the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention’s H1N1 flu site.