• Health Alert: H1N1 Info

    H1N1 INFLUENZA

    H1N1 influenza is a unique combination of genes from swine, bird, and human H1N1 influenza A virus that has demonstrated transmission from animal to humans. In light of recent outbreaks in Mexico, U.S., Canada, and other global areas, there is evidence that H1N1 influenza now has greater ease of human-to-human transmission.

    On June 11, 2009, the World Health Organization declared a worldwide pandemic based upon distribution and prevalence of the disease. It is anticipated that the United States will experience a “second spike” in H1N1 cases this fall and winter as we move into cold and flu season. Symptoms of flu-like illness are: fever of > 100.0F, cough, and sore throat. In addition, the H1N1 influenza may also produce chills, body aches, headache, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Incubation period is one to three days and duration of the illness averages approximately one week. All students and employees who experience flu-like symptoms are strongly encouraged to remain home until they are fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication.

    Transmission

    H1N1 influenza is not spread by food, or by eating pork or pork products. It is transmitted through large respiratory droplets that are generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The large droplets can be inhaled by susceptible people within six feet of the droplet source. Transmission also can occur through direct and indirect contact with infectious respiratory secretions.

    Prevention

    It is very important to engage in good respiratory hygiene to prevent the spread of any type of respiratory-borne illness. Here are a few simple measures:

    • Wash your hands often, especially after coughing or sneezing!! Make sure to use soap and water or hand sanitizers. Hand sanitizers are available on campus in the residence halls, dining halls, and other public places.
    • Dispose of used tissues in the trash. Do not leave used tissues on surfaces in common areas or on surfaces where others may come in contact.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth as these become portals for the spread of germs.
    • Use proper coughing technique. If a tissue is not available, cough into the crook of your arm or sleeve.
    • Get a seasonal flu vaccine early! Even though the seasonal flu vaccine does not offer protection from H1N1 influenza, it does help boost your immune system.

    Diagnosis

    Diagnosis of H1N1 influenza is made with viral cultures taken from a nasal swab of a symptomatic person. There are no commercially available rapid influenza kits that can detect H1N1 influenza.

    Treatment

    Treatment of H1N1 influenza is largely symptomatic. Use acetaminophen and ibuprofen to help reduce fever and ease symptoms of body aches, chills, and headache. Avoid aspirin and aspirin containing products such as Pepto-Bismol as these products have been associated with Reyes syndrome in children. Maintain bed rest and drink plenty of fluids to avoid becoming dehydrated. If you are using a communal bathroom, use a respiratory mask to avoid spreading germs.

    The CDC has recommended the use of antiviral medications for persons who are at high risk for influenza complications. These include pregnant women, people age 65 years or older, and persons with underlying medical conditions. Persons who meet this criteria should consult their private healthcare provider or contact the Monmouth University Health Services.

    Signs and Symptoms

    Influenza presents as a rapid onset of symptoms. Seek medical assistance if you develop sudden onset of the following symptoms:

    • High fever (>100.0F)
    • Headache
    • Extreme tiredness
    • Cough
    • Sore throat
    • Trouble breathing
    • Muscle aches, chills
    • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea

    For further update information go to http://www.nj.gov/highereducation/More_HE_Resources/H1N1_Resources.htm.