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Transcript: H1N1 Flu Update

Diane Sipkin M.D., student Health Center: I think anyone in health care is personally concerned, both from a concern about our student health and also the way it’s going to potentially affect our campus with a large number of absences being possibilities. The symptoms of H1N1 are really like any flu – it’s a high fever, it’s muscle aches and pains, usually accompanied by a cough, can be a sore throat as well. The seasonal flu has not gone away and it’s still going to be prevalent this fall and winter. In college campuses we have situations where we’re in much closer contacts with large groups of people, and I am talking about the classroom situation, and also in the residence halls you’re going to be in contact with a lot more people, and that’s why staying home is so important.

Areles Gallegos, student: The fact that I used to get sick a lot and cause I figure I work with kids and they’re always sick and I just didn’t want to get sick as often, so I figure I’ll just take the flu shot. I notice it’s been working every year for the past three or four years I’ve been taking it and I recommend it.

Sipkin: To prevent the flu, probably the most important thing people can do is plan on getting a flu shot. They can get a flu shot now for the seasonal flu. That’s available at the Health Center as we speak. And in the future when the shots, vaccinations for the H1N1 flu come, then students will be able to have their vaccinations at that time. At the current time we’re not sure when the vaccinations are going to be available but the students will be told of the arrival of the vaccine as soon as we find out.

Hand washing should be done frequently, especially after someone has touched their face, nose or mouth. They should also try to avoid ill people. The most important thing is to not infect other people. So you should stay home until you’re feeling well and you’ve been without a fever for 24 hours, and I am talking about being without a fever without the use of fever-reducing medications.

With the seasonal flu, the people are at higher risk for hospitalization or for deaths from the flu are the elderly and infants. This flu is different. This flu is affecting more young adults and school-age people and for that reason it’s very different.