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spacer spacer Frequently Asked Questions on Pandemic Flu

September 14, 2009

Does Keene State have a plan to handle widespread illness and absence?

The College has a pandemic response plan that addresses the needs of students, faculty, and staff. All planning and response strategies are based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services.

What are the symptoms of H1N1?

Students/staff/faculty who are concerned that they may have contracted the H1N1 virus should assess themselves for the following symptoms:

  1. Sudden onset of symptoms (feel fine and suddenly feel awful)
  2. Fever (100.4F or higher). Take your temperature with a thermometer to acquire an accurate number
  3. Chills
  4. Cough and/or sore throat
  5. Body aches and headache
  6. Fatigue
  7. Possible stomach upset/diarrhea

Students: You may call the Center for Health and Wellness at 603-358-2450 to discuss symptoms with a registered nurse. The Center for Health and Wellness will not be testing for H1N1, but will determine if you have influenza-like illness (ILI).

If you have a chronic medical condition, such as asthma or diabetes, or if you are pregnant, be sure to call the Center for Health and Wellness or your primary care provider for an evaluation if you develop ILI.

Staff/faculty members: contact your primary care provider, especially if you also have a chronic medical condition, such as asthma or diabetes, or if you are pregnant.

I don't have a thermometer. What should I do?

The Center for Health and Wellness has a limited supply available at a cost of $10. Local stores and pharmacies also sell them.

What should I do if I have the flu?

Our recommendation for students, faculty, and staff who have an influenza-like illness (ILI) is to go home until you feel better and your fever is normal for 24 hours. Treatment includes rest, plenty of fluids, and use of fever-reducing medication, such as Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Advil (ibuprofen).

How long will I be sick?

At this point, most people experience relatively mild symptoms and recover quickly, usually in three to five days. A few people may be sick longer than that.

When should I see my doctor?

Most people who experience the flu will not need to be seen by their doctor. But if your symptoms get dramatically worse instead of better, call the Center for Health & Wellness, 358-2450 (for students), or your primary provider for evaluation. In an emergency, call 911 or go to the emergency room at the nearest hospital. Symptoms that warrant seeking medical help include: trouble breathing, change in your fever pattern or a high spike in temperature, confusion, dehydration, severe vomiting, or lack of urination.

If you have serious underlying health problems, be sure to check with your doctor if you become ill.

What if I get sick at night or on the weekend?

Follow the initial treatment recommendations: rest, plenty of fluids, and use of fever-reducing medication, such as Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Advil (ibuprofen). If your symptoms get worse, seek medical care through the emergency room at Cheshire Medical Center at 590 Court Street, or your emergency room at home.

What about students who live off campus?

All students regardless of where they live must take personal responsibility for their health and follow guidelines for dealing with the flu. Students who live off-campus are encouraged to go home if they become ill. If that is not feasible, they should make sure that someone is checking on them frequently, and that they call the Center for Health & Wellness, 358-2450, to speak to a nurse, who will assess their symptoms. Anyone whose symptoms worsen dramatically should seek immediate care, either by calling 911, going to the emergency room at Cheshire Hospital, or contacting a primary care provider.

I am a student and can't return home if I get sick. What should I do?

If going home is out of the question, isolate yourself in your room. If a roommate has a chronic medical condition, please tell him or her to contact the Center for Health and Wellness for advice. It may be best for you to move to an isolated room for the sake of your at-risk roommate. Limited rooms for isolation are available through the Residential Life Office. Please ask your Resident Assistant to coordinate access to these rooms.

What does it mean to "self-isolate"?

Self-isolation means that a person remains in his or her room and does not attend classes or visit the dining hall. Self-isolation should continue for as long as the person has a fever. All students who are ill should also practice social distancing (remaining six feet away from their roommates, coughing into a sleeve or elbow, and washing their hands frequently). Wear a mask if you need to leave the room to use a shared bathroom.

How can I get food if I can't go home and I can't go to the dining hall?

Sodexo dining services has initiated a plan for any sick student who has a meal plan (whether living on campus or off) to pick up a box of food that will supply a day's worth of food and beverages. All students are encouraged to establish a "buddy" who can go and pick up food and/or supplies.

What if I miss classes because I am sick?

Faculty members will accommodate absences consistent with the academic integrity of the course. Students who become ill are asked to communicate with their professors as soon as possible to make arrangements to complete missed work. However, absences of significant lengths of time may require retaking the course in a subsequent semester.

How will the College communicate information about the pandemic?

All updates on the situation will be posted at www.keene.edu/alerts. This website will be the clearinghouse for communication about H1N1 flu. Students, staff, and faculty will also receive updated information by e-mail and voicemail, as appropriate. Facebook and other social media will be used as well. The pandemic response team will meet frequently to assess the situation.

When will the H1N1 flu vaccine be available? In the meantime, does it help to get the regular seasonal flu shot?

Delivery of the H1N1 vaccine will be coordinated through the NH Department of Health and Human Services as soon as it is available. Information on all flu vaccines will be sent to students through MyKSC and will also be posted at www.keene.edu/alerts.

Clinics will be held on campus to provide the seasonal flu vaccine (not H1N1). We recommend that everyone get this vaccine in order to keep the general population healthier. However, the seasonal flu vaccine is not effective against H1N1 flu. The cost of the seasonal flu vaccine is $25 for staff/faculty and $15 for students.

Dates for the Seasonal Flu Vaccine Clinics

Wednesday, September 16, 2009; 5-7 p.m.; Zorn North Dining Hall

Tuesday, September 22, 2009; 5-7 p.m.; Zorn North Dining Hall

Friday, October 2, 2009; 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; Student Center 308

What public health measures are in place on campus?

The campus is well supplied with alcohol-based hand sanitizers and soap dispensers. We have a limited supply of masks, with more on order. Public information campaigns encourage frequent handwashing and other personal care habits that may help to slow the spread of the flu virus. In addition, the Environmental Health and Safety office will collect data on the numbers of people who have fallen ill in offices and classes so that the College can track trends and clusters of illness. This information will be collected daily during an active flu season. To help slow the spread of the flu virus, faculty and staff members who become ill are asked to go home and stay there for the duration of their illness.

Under what circumstances would the College be forced to close?

Tracking of the virus will help us determine if and when the College would need to close. At this time we do not expect to close the College or cancel events. If a significant number of staff and students are sick, the pandemic planning committee will meet to determine whether a change in our response plan is warranted.

Who can I call if I have more questions about H1N1?

If you cannot find the answer to your question in the information given here or at www.keene.edu/alerts, please call or email one of the following offices at Keene State:

Medical questions: Chris Burke, 358-2926
Academics (faculty and courses): Mel Netzhammer, 358-2112
Environmental health and safety: Sylvie Rice, 358-2879
Employee policies: Kim Harkness, 358-2496

Student Services:
Center for Health and Wellness, 358-2450
Counseling Center: Brian Quigley, 358-2438
Residential Life: Kent Drake-Deese, 358-2999
Dining Services: Paul Paltrineri, 358-2683
Global Education Office: Skye Stephenson, 358-2379

Child Development Center: Ellen Edge, 358-2232
College communications: Susan Peery, 358-2122
Web and other online communications: Kim Accorsi, 358-2101
Media inquiries: Robin Dutcher, 358-2119
Campus Safety: Amanda Warman, 358-2766
President's Office: Misha Charles, 358-2111
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