What is H1N1?
The H1N1 virus is a new influenza virus causing illness in people, first detected in April 2009.
CDC has determined the H1N1 spreads from human to human, but it does not know how easily the virus spreads. You can help stop the spread of H1N1 by taking steps to protect your health. Consult with your local health care provider about the availability of the H1Nl vaccine prior to arriving on campus.
Is Marietta Ready for H1N1?
The health departments of Washington County and the City of Marietta have worked together over the past several years developing plans for emergency disasters. Marietta College has worked closely with both health departments to ensure that the safety and protection of our students, faculty and staff are at the highest quality possible.
Marietta College constantly monitors the CDC information on health issues, including, H1Nl. Marietta College is committed to informing and protecting our college community.
Marietta College is ready to respond if there is an outbreak of H1N1
Signs and Symptoms of H1N1
- Similar to the symptoms of seasonal flu
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Body aches
- Chills and fatigue
- Possible diarrhea and vomiting
Emergency Warning Signs
- Difficulty breathing
- Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- Sudden dizziness
- Severe or persistent vomiting
- Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
Prevention & Treatment
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
- Wash your hands with soap and water (15 to 20 seconds) after you cough or sneeze
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth-germs spread this way
- If you become sick you should remain in your room or at your home for seven days (7 days) or until you are symptom-free for 24 hours
- Antiviral prescription medications help to make your illness milder and make you feel better faster-but cannot be taken prior to flu symptoms
Should I bring a face mask to campus?
A mask that is labeled as "approved N95 respirator" is listed by the CDC to provide minimal protection. The best protection is to avoid contact with individuals with H1Nl.
When and how will 2009 H1N1 vaccine be available?
Both the H1N1 flu shot (in the arm) and the nasal spray have been produced by the Food and Drug Administration and both are now being shipped to all States. The availability of the spray or the shot will be determined by the demand of each State and the requests of the county and city health departments. Marietta College has been working with the Student Health Center (which is run by Marietta Memorial Hospital) to obtain vaccine for the Marietta College community. The College will announce when the H1N1 vaccine will be available on campus. Health care officials have warned us that there may not be enough H1N1 vaccine available for all members of the College community. The first priority on campus will be to the young adult population (18-24).
Is the Vaccine safe?
The H1N1 vaccine was made using the same processes and facilities that are used to make the seasonal influenza vaccines. A vaccine stimulates your immune response to prevent infection. All clinical trials have indicated that this vaccine is safe. If you are allergic to the seasonal vaccine than you would not take the H1N1 vaccine and you should refer to your health care provider to help you determine if you are allergic to the seasonal vaccine. Just as with the seasonal vaccine there will be soreness of your arm following the injection.
How many shots will I need?
All individuals that are 10 years of age or older will need one shot for the H1N1 vaccine. Children from 6 months to 9 years of age will currently need two shots with at least 21 days between vaccinations.
Who will receive the vaccine first?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends certain priority groups receive the H1N1 vaccine as soon as it becomes available.
Current vaccine priority groups from the CDC are:
Health care and emergency medical services personnel because infections among health care workers have been reported and this can be a potential source of infection for vulnerable patients. Also, increased absenteeism among health care professionals could reduce health care system capacity.
Pregnant women because they are at higher risk of complications and can potentially provide protection to infants who cannot be vaccinated.
Household contacts and caregivers for children younger than 6 months of age because infants younger than 6 months are at higher risk of influenza-related complications and cannot be vaccinated. Vaccination of those in close contact with infants less than 6 months old will lessen the chances they will pass H1N1 on to the infants.
Children 6 months through 18 years of age because there have been many cases of pandemic H1N1 flu in children and they are in close contact with one another in school and day care settings, which increases the likelihood of disease spread.
Young adults 19 through 24 years of age because there have been many cases of pandemic H1N1 flu in these healthy young adults and they often live, work and study in close proximity, and they are a frequently mobile population.
Persons aged 25 through 64 years of age who have health conditions associated with higher risk of medical complications from influenza.
Once enough pandemic H1N1 vaccine becomes available, others will be able to receive vaccine.
What do I do before the H1N1 vaccine is available?
Although getting vaccinated is the best way to protect oneself, there are other everyday actions one can take to improve their chances of staying healthy this flu season. Health officials recommend people continue to take the same precautions to protect themselves against a potential influenza pandemic as they would from colds and seasonal flu. Make good respiratory etiquette a habit.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue away after you use it.
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow or upper sleeve if you don’t have a tissue.
- Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs often spread this way.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze or use the restroom and before eating. If you are not near soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Stay away from people who are sick as much as you can.
- If you get sick, stay home from work or school.
What about social and workplace interactions?
An influenza pandemic could disrupt our everyday lives. Proper hygiene can reduce the risk of spreading germs during your work day.
- Encourage employees to use alcohol-based hand sanitizers at their desks.
- Regularly check restrooms to ensure soap and paper towels are available.
- Encourage employees to stay home if they are sick to reduce the spread of illness.
- Surfaces every employee touches such as doorknobs, handrails, drinking fountains and common telephones should be regularly cleaned.
Influenza is spread by coughs and sneezes and the virus can be picked up on hands and transferred. Consider greater distance between people at meetings and alternative greetings to a handshake. To prevent the spread of germs, the World Health Organization recommends the “elbow bump” instead of handshakes.
It is a good idea to have a plan. The federal government has provided planning documents and advice for many sectors of our society. For more information, visit odh.ohio.gov.
Experts recommend you have at least a one-week stockpile of food, water and goods purchased over time to limit financial impact and prevent store shortages.
All of the above information can be found by going to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and look for H1N1.
For More Information
As the CDC continues to trace the occurrence of swine flu in the U.S. you may want a source of updates and current information. We continue to watch developments as they could influence the Marietta College campus.
Sources for current information on swine flu include:
(CDC information on swine flu)
(CDC information for travelers)
(Ohio Department of Health)
(World Health Organization information on swine flu)
(WHO information on international travel and health)