Preventing and Preparing for the H1N1 Virus

Preventing and Preparing for the H1N1 Virus

By University of Arizona Campus Emergency Response Team
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To: University of Arizona Employees
From: Harry McDermott, MD, MPH, Executive Director for Campus Health, and the UA Campus Emergency Response Team
Subject: Preventing and Preparing for the H1N1 Virus
Date: September 17, 2009

With national health experts predicting that as many as one in four people living in the United States will become ill with the H1N1 flu this fall, members of The University of Arizona community are being asked to do everything they can to keep from getting sick and, in the event they do, to limit the spread of the virus.

We strongly recommend that all employees follow these suggestions to protect their own health, as well as the health of their families and co-workers.

Mind your hands and sneezes | Wash your hands frequently and for at least 20 seconds; keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth; cover coughs and sneezes using a tissue or your sleeve (but not your bare hand).

Teach these practices to everyone at home.

If you're sick, stay home | When you come to work sick, you're putting your co-workers' health at risk. Getting this virus will be especially serious for those considered "high risk" for complications - people who are pregnant and those who have diabetes, asthma, heart disease and other conditions. Along those same lines, we're also asking you to stay away from health clinics and medical offices. If your symptoms are severe and you feel you need to seek medical help, please call your doctor's office before going in. Severe symptoms include: fever of 102.5 or higher, or a lower fever that lasts more than three days; severe cough or chest pain; nausea and vomiting; severe headache.

Get flu shots | We recommend getting the vaccine for the seasonal flu as well as the H1N1 flu. Life & Work Connections will be holding flu shot clinics and may be able to visit your department to administer flu shots (see and for more information). A drive-through flu shot clinic offering seasonal flu shots will be held on the UA campus on Saturday, Oct. 3. This clinic will be for UA students and employees. More information will follow closer to this date.

Despite our best efforts, some of us will get sick. And even if we don't, there's a chance that members of our family will. For that reason, it's important that UA employees have plans in place - for work and home - in case they or loved ones contract the virus.

At Work

University units should prepare to see increased absenteeism as employees become ill with the flu or stay home to care for ill family members. Deans, directors, department heads, administrators and business managers are asked to review their Continuity of Operations Plans and review relevant policies. Employees are asked to visit the Human Resources "Pandemic Influenza Information and Resources" page - located at - for information on these and other areas:

o    Sick leave policies
o    Telecommuting
o    Employees affected by K-12 school closures

Employees who become ill with the flu are asked to stay at home until they have gone 24 hours without a fever, without using fever-reducing medication.

To learn about the recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for higher education institutions, go to

At Home

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has prepared a checklist ( of tasks to help families prepare for the flu. Among issues to consider:

o    Talking with family members about how loved ones
will be cared for
o    Foods to stock up on
o    Medical supplies to have handy

We also encourage you to sign up for UAlert if you haven't already ( and to visit the UA CERT Web site ( for additional information on pandemic planning.

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