H1N1 flu information

As many of you are aware, RIC Health Services has been actively involved in a flu reporting program with the Rhode Island Department of Health and are authorized to perform a limited number of flu cultures each week.

Last evening we received confirmation of our first case of H1N1 influenza on campus. This was not unexpected as there have been numerous reports of influenza-like illness (ILI) in the state and colleges and universities around the country are experiencing a sharp increase in documented H1N1 cases. Most of the illness has continued to be similar to the usual seasonal flu and symptoms have been relatively mild.

We will continue to see more cases of ILI in the coming weeks or months. This is to be expected given the nature of the virus and not a cause for alarm. Our efforts will continue to be focused primarily on trying to limit the spread of H1N1 during the course of the fall and winter and educate the community about more worrisome symptoms that may require additional medical care. You are encouraged to check our website for prevention suggestions: www.ric.edu/healthservices.

Individuals who are sick with flu symptoms should stay home from school or work for at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever without the use of fever- reducing medicines. Most people who get the flu will recover without needing medical care but if you have a chronic condition that puts you at higher risk of complications from the flu, you should contact your provider for advice. If you reside on campus, please call Health Services at 456-8055.

Warning signs that you may be developing flu-related complications can be found at www.health.ri.gov/news/H1N1Advisories/.

A vaccine for H1N1 is expected to be available by the middle of October and we will provide information about the plans for distribution of this vaccine on campus as soon as it becomes available to us.