2013 Seasonal Flu Update:
Goshen College’s Response
Goshen College is closely monitoring local and national health advisories concerning the 2013 seasonal flu virus, implementing preventative strategies to reduce the spread of the illness, and is prepared to respond to multiple cases of the flu.
As of Jan. 14, 2013, one Goshen College employee was diagnosed with the flu and was recovering. The employee stayed home so as not to spread the illness. Other campus employees have complained about flu-like symptoms.
If students develop flu symptoms, they will be advised to rest and recover and not attend classes. Residential students with the severe symptoms may be isolated in campus housing set aside for potentially ill students. The college will work closely with the Elkhart County Health Department, as needed, to monitor the situation and possible impacts of seasonal flu.
Precautions the college has taken to respond to the seasonal flu virus:
- Goshen College has a pandemic flu plan that identifies steps to be taken in response to suspected or confirmed cases of the flu. The plan is under continual review by the Crisis Management Team. The college will act appropriately to minimize the impact of suspected and confirmed cases of the flu on students, faculty, staff, campus visitors and our community.
- Preventive measures (which were taken in 2009) include the installation of hand sanitizers and the distribution of information to promote good health and to prevent the spread of the flu.
- During the fall (2012) semester, the college provided four opportunities for students to get a flu shot on campus – and many did so. Also, employees were encouraged to seek flu shots from their health providers or from a local pharmacy or clinic.
- The college has identified campus space and procedures to isolate students with suspected or confirmed cases of flu, who are unable to go home, and to provide them with food, medicine and class work as needed.
- Goshen College administrators will continue to monitor the flu situation and keep the campus community and parents informed about any developments. The college’s emergency notification system will be used, as needed, to assist with sharing information, and updates will be posted at www.goshen.edu/flu.
Any questions about how the college is addressing flu-related issues should be directed to Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students Bill Born, Goshen College’s crisis management coordinator, at (574) 535-7543 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Facts about the seasonal flu:
About influenza: Influenza (flu) is a contagious illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the respiratory tract. The illness can be mild to severe and can be fatal in some people. Although anyone can become infected with influenza, the elderly, young children, or anyone with other health problems are at greater risk from developing more severe illness or suffer from the complications of influenza, such as pneumonia.
How influenza is spread: By respiratory droplets from close contact with infected persons or contact with contaminated surfaces or objects. Infection can occur when influenza viruses contact the eyes, mouth, or nose, and possibly through inhaling droplets from a sneeze or cough. People may become infected by touching surfaces or objects contaminated with influenza viruses and then touching their eyes, mouth, or nose. Infected adults may be able to spread the virus to others about one day before they develop symptoms and up to five days after becoming sick.
Symptoms: Fever, chills, headache, cough, sore throat, runny nose, nausea, muscle aches and fatigue. Symptoms usually start about 1-4 days after being exposed and last 2-7 days.
Diagnosis: A health care professional usually diagnoses influenza by examining the patient’s symptoms. Sometimes a patient’s nose will be swabbed and tested for the influenza virus.
Treatment: Influenza is usually treated with fever reducers, throat or cough drops, water, and plenty of rest. If the diagnosis is made at the very beginning of the illness, a doctor may prescrive antiviral medication.
SOURCE: Indiana State Department of Health