To the Community,
The school year is a beginning – and so is the flu season. More than one kind of flu virus will be spreading this season, including the seasonal flu and the H1N1 flu. The continued health and safety of our students and staff is of the utmost importance to us. Therefore, we are taking steps to prevent the spread of flu at South Puget Sound Community College for as long as possible, but we need your help to accomplish this.
We are working closely with the Thurston County Health Department to monitor flu conditions in the community and make decisions about the best steps to take concerning our institution. We will keep you updated with new information as it becomes available to us.
If you get the flu, you can spread the illness to others at home, at work, and in the community. Symptoms of flu include fever or chills and cough or sore throat. In addition, symptoms of flu can include runny nose, body aches, headache, tiredness, diarrhea, or vomiting.
If you are sick, the college is asking that you plan to stay home until at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever (100 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius) or signs of a fever (chills, feeling very warm, having a flushed appearance, or sweating).
There are a few things you can do to help keep us all healthy:
- Practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing. Alcohol-based hand cleaners also are effective.
- Practice respiratory etiquette by covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow or shoulder, not into your hands. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth; germs are spread this way.
- Know the signs and symptoms of the flu. A fever is a temperature taken with a thermometer that is equal to or greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius. Look for possible signs of fever: if the person feels very warm, has a flushed appearance, or is sweating or shivering.
- Stay home if you have flu or flu-like illness for at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever (100 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius) or signs of a fever (have chills, feel very warm, have a flushed appearance, or are sweating). This should be determined without the use of fever-reducing medications (any medicine that contains ibuprofen or acetaminophen). Don’t go to class or work.
- Talk with your health care providers about whether you should be vaccinated for seasonal flu. Also if you are at higher risk for flu complications from 2009 H1N1 flu, you should consider getting the H1N1 vaccine when it becomes available. People at higher risk for 2009 H1N1 flu complications include pregnant women and people with chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, heart disease, or diabetes). For more information about priority groups for vaccination, visit www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/vaccination/acip.htm.
If this year’s flu season becomes severe, we may take additional steps to prevent the spread of the virus.
For the most up-to-date information on flu, visit www.flu.gov or call 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636).
If you have any questions about college’s response to the 2009 H1N1 flu, please call the college’s H1N1 flu information line at 596-5405.
We will notify you of any additional changes to our institution’s strategy to prevent the spread of flu on our campus.