Thursday, August 27, 2009

Prepares for swine flu season

With an expected increase in the number of H1N1 virus cases as the school year kicks off, Texas Tech has ordered extra flu vaccines as well as updated a Web site designed to help students protect themselves against the flu.

According to a report released by the White House earlier this week, the H1N1 virus will kill between 30,000 and 90,000 Americans in 2009 with the season peaking mid-October.

In preparation, Dr. Kelly Bennett of the Family Medicine department said Tech has ordered 500 additional doses of the regular flu vaccine.

She said no Tech students were infected with H1N1 last year, but the university has been preparing for an outbreak projected to be more severe than last year.

According to Tech's flu Web site, students with the flu or flu-like symptoms are not to attend class or work for at least 24 hours after fever returns to normal and to consider vaccinations as they become available.

This follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention swine flu response guidelines for higher education released Aug. 20, which recommends students and faculty infected with H1N1 be isolated as much as possible.

"Texas Tech has been designated a point of dispensing, by the CDC," said Managing Director of Family Medicine Evelyn McPherson. "This should give students and faculty easy access to the vaccine."

The H1N1 vaccine, which must be taken as two separate doses, should be available to students in late September, Bennett said, and does not replace the regular flu vaccine.

"The CDC is setting up a provider registry of doctors and health departments to receive vaccines for H1N1," said Lubbock Public Health Preparedness Coordinator Sandy Fortenberry. "Of the 45 million expected vaccines, about 4 million will be allocated to Texas which will then go to registered providers."

In addition to getting the H1N1 vaccine, she said, students must take responsibility for their own health so they do not become infected.

"Students should do the same as they would with seasonal flu by practicing good hygiene, staying healthy and getting their seasonal flu shot," Fortenberry said.

The CDC also urges balance, and according to CDC H1N1 response guidelines, strategies employed by organizations should reduce the number of people who become ill or die from the flu while minimizing disruption.

"We are working to follow CDC guidelines which sometimes change from one day to the next depending on the severity of outbreak," McPherson said.

No comments:

Post a Comment