Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that influenza activity is increasing in the United States with most states reporting widespread influenza activity, including significant cases in Wisconsin. Since Sept. 1, there have been 53 hospitalizations due to H1N1 virus infection in Wisconsin. The Student Health Center has seen a significant increase in patients with H1N1 this week but no known hospitalizations.
Everyone is encouraged to follow good hygiene precautions such as hand washing, covering their cough/sneeze with their sleeve or a tissue and staying home when ill. Anyone with influenza-like symptoms should self-isolate and not return to school/work until free of a fever for 24 hours (without taking medication). You should see a doctor if your temperature is above 102 degrees, fever for more than three days, worsening cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain. For the usual symptoms of muscle aches, headaches, sore throat, fever, and cough, students can self treat and do not need to see a doctor. “Flu Kits” are available from the Health Advocates in the residence halls or at the Student Health Center for $2. Students need to email their professors when they have missed class because of illness.
The medication Tamiflu is usually prescribed to treat influenza only for individuals with chronic conditions such as diabetes, asthma, heart problems, lung disease, or compromised immune systems. Young healthy individuals will recover without Tamiflu. This medication only shortens the flu symptoms by 24 hours and may cause stomach upset.
There are no more seasonal influenza vaccines available at almost all health facilities in our area. It maybe shipped again in December. The Student Health Center is now getting some supplies of the H1N1 vaccine. It is available in both the injectable and the nasal types. Higher-risk students or health care workers can get the vaccine now at the Student Health Center at no charge.
The UW Oshkosh Student Health Center is planning an H1N1 vaccine clinic for early November. Dates and times will be announced as soon as our shipment of vaccine arrives. The hope is to have 2,000 doses of vaccine available for the student community.
The vaccine may be available at other health facilities in the area. Students and faculty can call 211 to find out where other vaccination clinics are being held or online at http://wisconsinfluclinic.info.