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Information about the 2009 H1N1 Flu

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This Web site is designed to answer all your questions about East Carolina University's proactive response to the 2009 H1N1 flu Virus. If you have any questions, please contact:

Student Health Service
Division of Academic and Student Affairs
East Carolina University 252.328.6841

Frequently Asked Questions

Parent's  |  Parent's Perspective

Why are you not giving prescription medication?
Thus far the 2009 H1N1 flu (Swine flu) is very mild symptomatically.  CDC does not recommend dispensing anti influenza drugs routinely but only to those individuals who have underlying conditions that make them very susceptible to serious complications from influenza.  Individuals with asthma, diabetes, suppressed immune systems, heart disease, kidney disease, neurocognitive and neuromuscular disorders and pregnancy are considered at high risk of complications and should consult with their doctor to learn what they should do if they become ill with the flu.

Why aren’t you testing for flu?

CDC no longer recommends testing for 2009 H1N1 flu because their screening indicates that the majority of those currently becoming ill with flu like symptoms are sick with 2009 H1N1 flu.  Additionally, because 2009 H1N1 flu is so mild, most healthy people will recover from the flu before the results of the test would be finalized.

When will the vaccine be available?
We don’t know for sure when the 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine will be distributed.  We expect to receive the seasonal flu vaccine in September and are planning vaccination clinics now.  We are encouraging all faculty staff and student get vaccinated against both the seasonal flu and 2009 H1N1 flu when the vaccines are made available.

What if they miss class?  Are they excused or will they be given a note?
ECU Academic administration is currently drafting guidelines for instructors to follow when students miss class due to influenza like illness.  These guidelines will be posted here when they are made available.

Should I come & get my student and bring them home?
If you live close enough to come get your sick student, at home recovery is highly recommended.  They will appreciate your care.

Are sick students allowed to attend class or use university facilities?
We cannot prevent a sick student from attending class.  We are sending a strong message asking students and staff to stay home should they feel ill and for at least 24 hours after their fever subsides.

Why isn’t the university sending sick students home?
We are encouraging student to recover at home if they can get there safely.  For those who cannot travel home easily, we are asking them to self-isolate in their resident hall room or off-campus room to help prevent the spread of the illness.  They should stay isolated, except to see a Doctor if needed, for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone.

I have heard some complaints that so-and-so is “very sick with the flu” but the doctor just sent them home with Tylenol.
While this isn’t really a question, I think parents & students need to continually hear that the best treatment is rest & symptom management with over the counter medications.  I hear many students say “they just sent me out with nothing” or “they just told me to stay home and make sure to wash my hands”.  They perceive that we aren’t doing anything for them but in reality, there really isn’t anything to be done….except us giving them advice on how to take care of themselves.

When should my sick student seek medical care?
A sick student needs to seek medical care if any following conditions develop:

  • has difficulty breathing or chest pain
  • has purple or blue discoloration of the lips
  • is vomiting and unable to keep liquids down
  • has signs of dehydration such as dizziness when standing, absence of urination,
  • has seizures (for example, uncontrolled convulsions)
  • is less responsive than normal or becomes confused
What can I do as a parent to help my student through this flu season?
The first thing is if it is reasonable to pick up your student and care from them at home, that is the best situation for them.  Keep them home for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone.

If not, help them put together a “Flu Kit” to keep in their room with the following items:

  • Non-Mercury thermometer
  • Sanitizing wipes to clean high touch areas such as door knobs, refrigerator handles, kitchen utensils, tabletops, toilets, bathroom sink, etc.
  • Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen (such as Tylenol or Motrin)
  • Cough suppressant & decongestant or a multi-symptom flu relief product
  • Easy to prepare comfort foods (soups, pasta, etc.)
  • Several days’ supply of fluid replacement such as fruit juice, Gatorade, etc. (Avoid caffeine and alcohol).
  • Encourage them to get the seasonal flu and 2009 H1N1 flu vaccinations when they become available later this fall.