Loyola University Maryland has begun to receive its requested allotment of H1N1 flu vaccine from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Students previously identified as being in higher-risk categories based on chronic illnesses have been contacted by e-mail and encouraged to schedule an appointment to receive their vaccine injections in the Health Center from Nov. 9 - 13. Other students between the ages of 16 and 24 may receive the vaccine at walk-in clinics to be held in McGuire Hall on Monday, Nov. 16, and Tuesday, Nov. 17, from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Vaccinations are free, but students must bring their student IDs to be admitted to the clinics.
Loyola has developed plans for monitoring and responding to cases of H1N1 flu, a virus which is expected to have a significant impact on college campuses nationwide this fall. Guidelines for remaining healthy and addressing illness-related class absences throughout the semester have been established and will be reviewed frequently by a task force of University representatives.
From the beginning of the fall semester through Monday, Nov. 2, 212 Loyola students had been diagnosed with flu. Loyola's Health Center, like many others, is no longer testing for specific types of flu. The Center is responding to each flu case as if it were H1N1 and following the appropriate Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. Many students diagnosed with flu have recovered already; the others are recovering without complications. We will provide updated information on the flu's impact on Loyola on a regular basis.
Students are also encouraged to take the following precautions to avoid contracting or spreading H1N1 flu:
- Washing hands frequently with soap and water, or using an alcohol-based cleaner, especially after you cough or sneeze;
- Containing coughs and sneezes with tissues, a shoulder, or the crook of an elbow. Throw away tissues after use and wash your hands;
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, or mouth;
- Avoiding close contact with people who are ill;
- Using sanitizing agents often on frequently touched surfaces;
- Avoiding close contact with others, such as handshakes, hugs, and kisses; and
- Not sharing drinking glasses, food, or utensils.
Health Center services are available to students who develop fever, sore throat, cough, aches, chills or other flu-like symptoms. Loyola's Health Center is an outpatient facility; residential students who become ill and whose homes are within a five-hour drive from campus will be asked to go home under the care of their parents. Those who must remain on campus and who live with roommates should wear masks while in contact with others, and encourage their roommates to wear masks as well. Most individuals who contract H1N1 flu recover after about three to five days of rest.
While class attendance is important, students who are ill should stay home until they have been free of fever for at least 24 hours. Faculty have been asked to work with students to accommodate absences due to illness.
Additional information on H1N1 flu, including a link to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommendations for institutions of higher education, is available on the student health services and education Web site. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, director of student health and education services, with questions or concerns.
Throughout the semester, we will provide updates on Loyola's preparation for and response to H1N1 flu.
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