As Washington and Lee prepares for potential impact of the H1N1 influenza, commonly known as swine flu, the University's staff will play an important role in helping us stop the spread of the virus should it return to the campus this fall as we anticipate it will.
In the first instance, you can assist the University by taking care of your self and observing common sense preventative measures. These include:
Employees who are living with someone who has the flu may still go about their normal work and school activities, as long as they are not symptomatic themselves. These employees should monitor their health every day, and take everyday precautions cited above. Staff who have an underlying medical condition or who are pregnant should call their health care provider for advice, because they might need to receive influenza antiviral drugs to prevent illness.
In addition, all staff members are strongly encouraged to get both a seasonal influenza vaccine and a 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine. In an effort to have all faculty and staff immunized early, seasonal flu vaccinations will be offered at W&L's Health and Wellness Fair on October 13 for $10. The University has pre-registered for the 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine, and we expect it will begin to become available in mid-October. The initial focus will be on vaccinating those in the priority groups listed below. These groups may be further restricted initially based on vaccine availability, and it is unclear when the 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine will become available for healthy adults age 25 or older. In any event, staff should be in contact with their personal health care providers to discuss whether they should receive vaccinations for both seasonal and H1N1 flu. Anthem has informed the University that these vaccinations will be covered under the policy. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended initial prioritization for those administering the vaccine for five key populations, including:
Should you become ill with the flu and suffer from a temperature greater than 100.0 and cough or sore throat, you should not attend work or any public functions but should isolate yourself at home. The CDC currently recommends that any patient with a flu-like illness remain at home until 24 hours have passed without fever (in the absence of fever-reducing medications). Based on additional CDC guidance, a note or "excuse" from a health care provider should not be required since such requirements may potentially overwhelm our health care providers, as they struggle to care for ill patients during times of widespread illness. Staff who miss work due to illness should charge the time to SLR or CTO.
In your interactions with students, please help the University by reminding them of these preventative measures and also by urging them to contact the Student Health Center and to seek medical advice from the Student Health Center.
Please consult this Web site for new information on the H1N1.