Seasonal flu levels high, protect yourself and others

January 14, 2013

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the flu season began early this year and symptoms have been more severe than usual. The CDC has characterized the national situation as “high flu activity” and the state of Colorado falls into this category (see more at the CDC FluView report.) Wardenburg Health Center has seen large numbers of students with flu symptoms since November.

We encourage all members of the CU community to read the following information carefully, and for more information on flu, visit the Wardenburg Health Center website at http://www.colorado.edu/healthcenter.

Flu Vaccination

The most effective flu prevention is vaccination. Those who have not yet received the vaccine are strongly encouraged to get it. The flu season does not typically peak until February or March. In addition, even if one has already had the flu this year, the vaccine may protect against the other strains of the flu that are included in the vaccine.

Flu vaccines are available to faculty, staff, and students at Wardenburg Health Center http://www.colorado.edu/healthcenter/fluinfo.

Students

  • Students who have flu-like illness should self-isolate within their residence hall rooms, apartments, or housing facilities. Self-isolating means staying more than three feet away from others at all times, and not attending classes or group events. Isolation should continue for 24 hours after the resolution of fever (without the use of fever-reducing medication).
  • Those with flu should cover their noses and mouths when they cough or sneeze and should frequently wash their hands with soap and warm water or disinfect with hand sanitizer. Sneezing or coughing into one’s elbow is one way to prevent contaminating your hands with nasal or oral secretions.
     
  • In line with previous CDC recommendations regarding flu outbreaks and due to the widespread nature of the virus and limited capacity of CU residence halls, the university is not “quarantining” sick students.
  • Any CU student living in a residence hall with flu-like symptoms may obtain a surgical mask from the front desk of their residence hall. Masks are primarily for those with flu-like illness to prevent others from becoming ill; such masks on healthy individuals only provide limited protection.
  • Any CU-Boulder student who is experiencing flu-like symptoms can call their medical provider or Wardenburg Health Center (303-492-3435) to discuss treatment options. People who are at increased risk – pregnant women and people with pre-existing medical conditions (including diabetes and asthma) – should consider contacting a healthcare provider to ask whether medication is appropriate.

Faculty

  • All faculty are expected to be flexible regarding students missing classes and making up work. The recovery time for flu can be up to 7-10 days. Faculty should not expect notes from medical providers excusing students from class for flu-like illness.
  • Faculty should make arrangements for class continuity in the event they themselves become ill, and be prepared to communicate the information to students.
     
  • Departments should be prepared to receive student phone calls regarding missing class and notifying faculty of illness.

CU-Boulder Employees

  • Any employees who are exhibiting flu-like symptoms are strongly encouraged to stay home. The CDC recommends that those with flu stay home for 24 hours after their fever has subsided (without the use of fever-reducing medications).
  • Employees with flu-like symptoms who stay home should use sick leave for the absence and follow proper procedures to request leave from their supervisors. If an employee has exhausted all of his or her sick leave, it is appropriate to use annual leave.
     
  • For more information, employees should visit the Human Resources website at http://hr.colorado.edu.

 

Flu map courtesy of the FluView website, a service of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

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