(ILLUSTRATION BY OLIVER YU/LARIAT STAFF)
It’s flu season and Saddleback College is taking extra precautions to help protect itself from an outbreak of the flu and H1N1 virus.
To understand how to combat the illness and further more prevent it, it is important to
understand what H1N1 (also referred to as swine flu) is all about.
According to the Center for Disease Control, the swine flu symptoms are very similar to
that of a regular flu. Symptoms similarly include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy
nose, body aches, chills, and more.
People may also undergo respiratory symptoms without a fever and experience vomiting
The flu got the name “swine” because researchers have found similar genes in the virus
infecting humans as well as swine infected in North America.
Recent studies, though, are showing that the new virus is almost completely different
from its original form found in North American pigs.
With much more information on the subject, the Saddleback Health Center partnered
with the Centers for Disease Control and is setting out to make sure an outbreak doesn’t
severely impact the students and staff here at Saddleback as well as colleges nationwide.
On staff public health nurse, Monica Nelson says, “If you have a fever and are not feeling good, you are instructed to come to the health center immediately where we will triage you
and have you see the doctor.”
If in fact the doctor does diagnose the student with flu or H1N1, there are some important
things for the infected to know and understand in regards to school and human contact.
To avoid contracting the virus, the Health Center encourages students to cover their
mouths and noses when they cough or sneeze.
Students should also frequently wash their hands so that the infection doesn’t get
passed through touching an object or shaking hands.
Possibly the most important measure, according to the Health Center and the CDC is
staying home when you have a fever.
“Staying home and isolating yourself is very important,” says Nelson, “Don’t’ come to
school if you’re feeling sick! Let your teachers know immediately via email advising them
that you have been sent home by the Student Health Center and will return when you are
Professors have been informed of the current H1N1 and flu situation and a school-wide
awareness is being implemented.
Though it is not required and not everyone is participating, many faculty members are
accommodating their students with excused absences and allowing make-up work for
students who present a doctors note signifying they had the flu.
“I think it is a really good idea that professors are being less strict on attendance due to
the H1N1 because it is letting those who are ill stay home with the reassurance that their
grade will not be effected and therefore keeping the rest of Saddleback’s students and
faculty safe,” said Karly Carruthers, 20, nursing.
Carruthers also said, “If I am sitting next to someone in class who is obviously very ill, it
puts me at risk for also getting sick, and we need to take all the precautions for preventing
H1N1 from spreading.”
Students should not come back to school until they have been without a fever for 24
hours without the use of fever-reducing medicines such as Theraflu and Ibuprofen.
Be sure to drink lots of clear fluids to avoid dehydration and try to keep the germs on you. This includes frequent hand washing, disposing of tissues and napkins in the trash,
disinfecting common surfaces such as phones, children’s toys, and light switches, and wash all used dishes in warm water to kill bacteria.
Medications to alleviate symptoms may be available at the health center for little to no
cost and students should take advantage of that the nursing center has to offer in alleviating their flu.
As for students not yet affected by the flu or H1N1 this season, the CDC and the Health
Center asks that you still proceed to get the seasonal flu vaccine and a 2009 H1N1 vaccine.
The campus sold out of their flu shot inventory within a couple weeks but many local
pharmacies and doctor offices still have some on hand.
Supplies are limited so make an appointment and get vaccinated as soon as you can.
Also, keep an eye out for the posters adorning campus bathrooms and forums as these
may help instruct students on proper hand-washing techniques as well as much needed
information about these viruses.
Sickness can be prevented if the correct precautions are taken and everyone here at the
Lariat News wishes students and staff a safe and healthy flu season.