Emergency Preparedness

UMD Influenza-Like Illness Recommendations

Influenza activity has been high in the United States since December 2012 including Minnesota.

While the vast majority of those infected with this virus have had mild, self-limited disease up to this point, some individuals with the following underlying health conditions have had more severe infections and complications:

  • pregnancy
  • diabetes
  • chronic lung disease including asthma
  • immune system disorders
  • younger than 19 on long term aspirin therapy
  • heart, liver, kidney and blood system disorders
  • obesity

The CDC, state and county health departments continue to monitor influenza activity carefully.

Infected individuals are considered contagious (able to spread the virus) up to a day before symptoms begin and until at least 24 hours after the fever has resolved and perhaps longer. Symptoms typically resolve within 7-10 days. The virus is spread by coughing, sneezing or by touching objects which have virus on them and then touching the eyes, nose and mouth.

Typical signs and symptoms of infection include:

  • a fever of 100 degrees or greater
  • body aches
  • sore throat and/or nasal congestion
  • cough and headache

If infection or close contact exposure to someone with influenza is suspected AND you are at high risk for complications OR you have severe symptoms, please contact Health Services at 726-8155 as soon as possible. Severe flu symptoms can include:

  • confusion
  • difficulty breathing
  • dizziness
  • chest pain
  • flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough

Treatment of infected individuals who are at low risk for complications typically focuses on managing symptoms, such as treating fever with Ibuprofen or Tylenol, maintaining hydration with fluids, and getting extra rest. Tamiflu, an antiviral medication, is prescribed to treat infection and also to prevent infection in those exposed; however, the CDC has recommended that Tamiflu use be LIMITED to those at highest risk for severe infection and complications (see above). UMD Health Services has a limited supply of Tamiflu from the federal government stockpile program.

The most important strategies for managing the influenza virus on university campuses focus on planning, education and prevention. UMD and the CDC recommend that everyone who is eligible be vaccinated for seasonal influenza. UMD has hosted two mass vaccination clinics in October 2012 and will host an additional clinic January 30th 2013.

Since the influenza virus is highly contagious, it cannot be over-stated the IMPORTANCE OF LIMITING YOUR EXPOSURE TO OTHERS IF YOU ARE ILL.

  • Faculty and staff should stay home until 24 hours after fever is gone
  • Students should consider the best option for themselves
    • Returning home to family
    • Staying home in off-campus housing
    • Staying in your on-campus room

LIMIT YOUR EXPOSURE TO OTHERS UNTIL AFTER YOUR FEVER IS GONE FOR 24 HOURS WITHOUT THE USE OF FEVER RELIEVER SUCH AS TYLENOL OR IBUPROFEN.

You can minimize your risk of acquiring or spreading the virus if you:

  • wash hands often using soap and water or hand sanitizer
  • cover your cough or sneeze with your sleeve or tissue
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • clean frequently used surfaces such as keyboards, telephones, door knobs, etc with a disinfectant
  • have symptoms and need to leave your residence, wear a surgical mask if possible.

UMD recommends that all students be prepared for influenza by bringing to school:

  • A thermometer
  • Several boxes of tissue
  • Several bottles of hand sanitizer
  • Ibuprofen or Tylenol
  • Disinfectant spray or wipes such as Lysol

Please refer to the links listed on our web page for additional information on influenza, UMD's Pandemic Influenza Response Plan or call UMD Health Services at 726-8155.

 

revised 1-22-13


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