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University offers information about swine flu prevention

by Karen A. Grava - May 4, 2009

As swine flu spread to at least 10 U.S. states and many countries around the world last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) raised its flu alert level to 5, the second highest level, indicating that the organization believed that a pandemic is imminent.

As of April 30, UConn had no suspected cases of flu, but officials were urging members of the UConn community to be mindful of their health.

Communicating via e-mails, Michael Kurland, director of health services, and Aliza Wilder, director of human resources, reminded the UConn community about the symptoms of flu, the need to exercise respiratory “etiquette,” and the need to stay home if sick.

The University is working closely with the local health department and the Connecticut Department of Public Health to provide updated advisories and follow the latest information on swine flu prevention and treatment recommendations.

The University already has a plan in place to respond to a pandemic flu.

For information on prevention, self care, treatment, and the status of local and national efforts to address the disease, members of the university community are advised to visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web site www.cdc.gov/swineflu/swineflu_you.htm, and the state Department of Public Health site www.ct.gov/ctfluwatch/cwp/view.asp?a=2533&q=439092/.

UConn will also post updates on the Student Health Services web page: www.shs.uconn.edu/.

To help prevent illness, people are advised to cough and sneeze into an arm or elbow, not into hands; wash hands often with soap and water, especially after a sneeze or cough; sing the “ABC Song” while washing to make sure hands are thoroughly washed; use alcohol-based hand sanitizers; avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth; avoid contact with others who are ill; stay home from work or school and avoid contact with others if ill; get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

Symptoms of the flu include fever, muscle aches, headache, sore throat, cough, and runny nose. If anyone has these symptoms, consult a healthcare provider and keep a distance from others. A health provider should be consulted to determine when it is safe to return to the University.

“The health of the university community requires each of us to do our part to prevent and control the spread of illness and disease,” the notices said.

“We will continue to closely monitor the situation and keep you advised in the event further precautions are necessary.”

If considering travel outside the U.S. , check with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for health recommendations and the U.S. Department of State for any travel warning or advisories.

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