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Isolation recommended for college students with swine flu

Jenny Decker RN's picture

All around America there is talk about possibly closing schools due to outbreaks of H1N1. The CDC recommended that closure take place only under limited circumstances. Colleges and universities have been largely left out of the news. However, the unique circumstances at higher education campuses make considerations extremely important.

Students often live in dorms or with other students in small apartments in general. What happens when the swine flu hits them? Professors have placed many demands on students to be in attendance, hand in assignments on time, and take exams when they are scheduled. However, today federal officials have recommended that college students with the swine flu be isolated.

Some recommendations for those students with the swine flu include having a flu buddy, someone to bring them meals so they do not have to leave their dorm or shared apartment and telephoning the college or university health center instead of going in, unless symptoms are severe. Universities are encouraging professors to suspend penalties for missed classes, assignments, and exams.

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Other recommendations include wiping down keyboards, cleaning doorknobs, and any other items that are often touched, such as desktops. Students are being advised to cover coughs, use frequent handwashing, and keeping antibacterial hand rubs with them. The purpose is to be ahead of the swine flu and prevent colleges and universities from having to close down. Isolating sick students may help prevent further spread of the H1N1 virus.

H1N1 has prompted federal officials to recommend to colleges and universities that they should consider providing some type of temporary housing as isolation for students with swine flu and find ways to bring in meals. This is to prevent students with swine flu, even seasonal flu, from venturing out and infecting others. If families live close, universities can encourage students to return to families if they become sick.

One other consideration relating to swine flu in colleges and universities is the faculty and staff who work there to provide educational services. Provisions should be put in place to allow faculty and staff to stay home if they have symptoms.

With the flu vaccine hopefully available by the middle of October, students will be advised to obtain the flu shot. Seasonal flu shots are also recommended. Signs and symptoms of the swine flu include a high fever, sore throat, fatigue, and body aches. Handwashing is one of the most effective methods of preventing the spread of the flu. Carrying a hand sanitizer can be very helpful, too. Students staying at home or in their dorms when sick and professors who suspend penalties can go a long way to prevent closure of universities and colleges and preventing widespread swine flu.




Parents of young children and/or if you work around them, I have a helpful tip to keep this flu away. My daughter learned this great program at pre-school called Germy Wormy Germ Smart. It teaches kids to understand how germs spread and how to NOT spread them. It was so much fun for her, and amazing how quickly the kids learned healthier hygiene habits! The website speaks for itself: www.germywormy.com