Monitoring the H1N1 flu

Cases of influenza continue to be reported in North Texas this summer, and the Dallas County Health Department has confirmed one case of H1N1 flu in a middle school student who recently attended a summer camp at SMU. There are no known H1N1 cases among other SMU summer campers or among SMU students, faculty or staff.

As it did this spring when flu-like symptoms were reported on campus, SMU has increased the frequency of sanitation procedures and encourages vigilance regarding personal hygiene and health habits. Faculty, staff and students should:

• Wash hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer frequently, especially after touching common surfaces (door handles, railings, etc.).
• Cover the mouth when coughing or sneezing with either a disposable tissue or a sleeve.
• Avoid contact with people who are sick.

If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms (sudden fever/chills, cough, body aches, fatigue), 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.

Traditional flu vaccines administered in fall 2008 and winter 2009 do not protect against the H1N1 virus, 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.