Campus takes precautions for flu

Six suspected cases of H1N1 influenza (commonly referred to as the ìswine flu”) have been documented at The College of Wooster since the beginning of the semester.

Director of Longbrake Student Wellness Center Nancy Anderson noted that six students have tested positive for Influenza A, which, at this time of year, usually denotes the H1N1 virus.† However, official testing for the presence of H1N1 is only given for patients who are hospitalized or if a large enough cluster of cases is suspected.

ìThis is still isolated,” explains Anderson.† ìWe have no idea where [the virus] is coming from.”† Anderson expected additional cases to manifest within four to eight days after each novel outbreakñ as of press time, however, this pandemic pattern has not occurred.

Though Woosterís encounters with swine flu have been mild so far, Anderson indicates the staff at the Wellness Center are well-prepared to handle any larger incidences of the flu.† The Wellness Center devised a bacterial and viral pandemic plan in 2006 amidst concern over the potential for an avian flu pandemic.† ìItís easy to implement,” says Anderson.

Preparations have already been made inside of the Holden Annex to accommodate students who need to be isolated.† Logistics for meal delivery, linen services and other student needs have been planned.† Anderson also indicates the local Red Cross has supplied additional cots should the Wellness Centerís resources be utilized by a greater number of students.

ìWe have instances of influenza every single year,” says Anderson.† The swine flu virus, however, disproportionately affects Woosterís population.† Cases at Wooster thus far, though, have been mild: most students are isolated for at least 48 hours and not released until they have been fever-free for 48 hours (the Center for Disease Control recommendation for isolation).

Students are encouraged to be proactive to prevent swine flu from spreading across campus.† Basic hygiene practices can be implemented, such as practicing good hand washing, coughing into shirtsleeves, and avoiding rubbing oneís eyes.† Anderson also recommends students eat nutritious meals and allow time to get enough sleep each evening.

In order to read tips on how to prevent contracting swine flu, visit the Wellness Centerís tip sheet, which can be found at the Wellness Centerís Web site.

Influenza vaccinations are also available during certain times over the course of the fall semester.† The semesterís first flu clinic distributed all of the Wellness Centerís doses of seasonal flu shot, and Anderson expects a shipment soon.

The Wellness Center will hold a flu vaccine clinic as soon as new doses become available; check the Wooster Headline News for dates and times.† Seasonal influenza vaccinations are $20.

Anderson also indicates the H1N1 flu vaccination is developed and being distributed by the federal government; as those inoculations become available, the Wellness Center will distribute them.† Anderson states the H1N1 vaccines are available for a small administrative fee; she is expecting $5-$10.† The Wellness Center recommends students receive the seasonal flu vaccine until January.