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Influenza Prevention and Policy


Flu shot image
Contact Health Services to get your flu shot
Phone: (301) 447-5288  •  Location: Lower McGowan

As our community prepares for another flu season, we would like to remind everyone of the Mount’s policy for students or employees experiencing symptoms of influenza. As you probably know, the flu is very contagious and there is the potential for a campus wide epidemic if we do not take proper precautions.

This policy is in place for each of our best interest as well as for the protection of our entire campus community. It is important to remember that the University, including faculty and administration, will work with students who need to go home due to illness and are diagnosed with the flu.

The Mount’s Influenza Policy

What is the Mount’s policy for students or employees diagnosed with the flu?

As a primarily residential institution it will normally be impossible for the University’s students to self-quarantine themselves in a University residence hall. As a result, under most circumstances students or employees who are diagnosed with the flu or are very ill are sent home for seven calendar days (the length of time of infectiousness for a person infected with the influenza virus).

Students and employees who are shown to be fever free for a period of twenty-four hours (without fever reducing medication) may be permitted to return to the University after five days if they present to Health Services (students) or Human Resources Department (employees) documentation from their personal physician that they have been cleared to return to class or work.

Reduce Your Chances of Getting the Flu

Mount Health Services strongly recommends everyone receive the flu vaccine.

Mount St. Mary’s University 2013 Flu Clinic is in Health Services (McGowan Lower Level). Flu vaccines will be offered anytime between the dates/times listed below:

September 11—November 21, 2013
Monday and Wednesday 9:30–11 a.m. and 1–3 p.m.
or
Tuesday and Thursday 1–3 p.m.
No Fridays

The price for the flu vaccine is $25.00 (cash only) for students, seminarians and employees on campus who are not full-time and part-time regular employees. Those paying cash will receive a receipt at the time of service.

The cost is free for full-time and part-time regular employees. No appointment is required, but you must sign-up through the Department of Human Resources at 301-447-5372 to participate in the Wellness Program.



Suggestions from the Centers for Disease Control
 

Prevention

Get vaccinated against seasonal flu. Vaccination is the best protection we have and protects you against all three main types of flu. You can get a flu shot at your family doctor's office or through Health Services.

Influenza Q & A from the CDC

What should I do to prepare for this flu season?
CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease. While there are many different flu viruses, the flu vaccine is designed to protect against the three main flu strains that research indicates will cause the most illness during the flu season.

Getting the flu vaccine soon after it becomes available each year is always a good idea, and the protection you get from vaccination should last throughout the flu season. In association with our local hospital, our Human Resources Department sponsors a one day flu clinic for all Mount students and employees.  In addition, Health Services offers the flu vaccine all during flu season with or without an appointment. 

What can I do to reduce my chances of catching the flu?
The single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated each year, but good health habits like covering your mouth when coughing and washing your hands often can help reduce the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu. There also are flu antiviral drugs that can be used to treat and prevent the flu.  Other strategies for flu prevention are:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • Stay home when you are sick.

  • If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.

  • Cover your mouth and nose.

  • Clean your hands.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

  • Practice other good health habits…Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

Will new strains of flu circulate this season?
Flu viruses are constantly changing so it's not unusual for new flu virus strains to appear each year.

When will flu activity begin and when will it peak?
The timing of flu is very unpredictable and can vary from season to season. Flu activity most commonly peaks in the U.S. in January or February. However, seasonal flu activity can occur as early as September and as late as May.

More information about the seasonal flu is available on the CDC website.

MRSA Infections

MRSA basics
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) is a type of staph bacteria that is resistant to certain antibiotics called beta-lactams. These antibiotics include methicillin and other more common antibiotics such as oxacillin, penicillin, and amoxicillin. Most MRSA infections are skin infections that may appear as pustules or boils which often are red, swollen, painful, or have pus or other drainage. They often first look like spider bites or bumps that are red, swollen, and painful. These skin infections commonly occur at sites of visible skin trauma, such as cuts and abrasions, and areas of the body covered by hair (e.g., back of neck, groin, buttock, armpit, beard area of men).

How do I protect myself from MRSA?
MRSA protection is much like protection from the flu or other common infections.

  • The key to preventing MRSA infections is for everyone to practice good hygiene:

  • Keep your hands clean by washing thoroughly with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand rub.

  • Keep cuts and scrapes clean and covered with a bandage until healed.

  • Avoid contact with other people’s wounds or bandages.

  • Avoid sharing personal items such as towels or razors.

More information about MRSA is available on the CDC website.

Gastroenteritis (Stomach Flu)

Each school year usually brings with it some form of Gastroenteritis (better known as "stomach flu").  The stomach flu is a highly contagious viral infection of the stomach and small and large intestines resulting in vomiting and/or diarrhea.  You may also experience headache, fever and abdominal cramps.  In most cases, the acute stage of this virus will run its course within 12-24 hours.  Because it is caused by a VIRUS, there is no medication that will cure it. 

For most young, healthy persons, this illness is not serious.  The main things you need to do during a bout with gastroenteritis is keep yourself hydrated.  Drink plenty of fluids or suck on ice chips if you are actively vomiting.  Avoid milk and milk products as this can make the diarrhea worse.  Sodas may also help settle the stomach.  Broth, tea, juice, ice pops and Jell-o are also considered liquids.  You should not try to eat during the acute stages of the illness.  You do need to hydrate yourself.   After the acute episode is over, you may start eating a bland diet also known as the BRATT diet (banana, rice, applesauce, tea and toast).  If you tolerate this, you may slowly add more to your diet.

If the vomiting/diarrhea lasts longer than 24 hours, you may want to see a doctor for evaluation.  As stated earlier, gastroenteritis is very contagious, so don't share food/drink with your friends and roommates.  Wash your hands frequently and keep them away from your nose and mouth.  Clean your room well during and after the infection   If you have any questions, you may stop by Heath Services.  We have a brochure that will give you more information on gastroenteritis prevention and treatment.

 
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