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  Home > Health Emergency > 2009 H1N1 flu > Student messages

September 10, 2009

Dear resident:

I'm writing to inform you that we already have a few students living in the residence halls who have reported flu-like symptoms consistent with possible 2009 H1N1 influenza. Because the H1N1 influenza virus is highly transmissible, students living in residence halls and on-campus apartments are likely to be exposed and potentially contract H1N1. Outlined below is important information about what you should do to prevent contracting the 2009 H1N1 flu virus and what you should do if you become ill. For 2009 H1N1 flu basics, visit the University's H1N1 Web site.

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO PREVENT CONTRACTING THE 2009 H1N1 FLU VIRUS

  • Practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective. Wipe down desks and other surfaces with disinfectant wipes before and after you use them.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you do not have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow or shoulder, not your hands.
  • Don't share beverages or eating utensils.
  • Eat healthy nutritious meals, stay hydrated, and get plenty of rest.

2009 H1N1 FLU SYPTOMS

The following are symptoms of the 2009 H1N1 influenza: fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headaches, chills, and fatigue. Some people may also experience diarrhea and vomiting.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU BECOME ILL WITH THE H1N1 FLU VIRUS

  • In accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, if you become ill with influenza-like symptoms, the University would like you to leave your residence hall/apartment and go home for care during your illness. You will likely be more comfortable at home, and you will reduce the possibility of spreading the virus to your roommate(s) and others in your residential community. You should remain at home until 24 hours after your fever subsides (without the use of fever reducing medication). If you go home to recover from your illness, we request that you inform your hall information desk. And please inform your hall information desk when you've recovered from your illness and return to campus.
  • In the event that you are unable to return home during your illness, you should do the following:
    • Stay in your residence hall room/apartment and limit your contact with your roommate(s) and friends.
    • If you are in contact with others, wear a surgical mask to prevent spreading the virus. Wear a mask if you must leave your room to, for instance, use the rest room or go to Boynton Student Health Service. Masks are available from your community advisor, health advocate, or hall information desk.
    • Contact your hall information desk to inform the staff that you are ill and are staying in your room, so we are aware of your situation should you need assistance.
    • While you're ill you should drink plenty of fluids (to stay hydrated), take fever reducing medication, and get plenty of rest.
    • Until 24 hours after your fever subsides, remain in your residence hall room/apartment and do not attend class, go to your residence hall dining center, go to work, or attend events/activities.
    • If your symptoms do not improve after several days, contact your primary health care provider. For questions about whether you should see a physician, or for further guidance on care during an illness, call the Boynton Health Service medical Information Nurse Line at 612-625-7900 or contact your Hall Information desk at (#) to get contact information for the health advocates living in your hall/apartment.
  • To access food while you are ill, the following options are available:
    • You may utilize an Illness/Injury Meal Request form. This form can be found at your hall information desk or with your community advisor. Fill out the form completely and send it with a friend/roommate to the dining hall. Your friend/roommate will be required to provide both the form and your U Card in order to obtain a meal to bring back to your room for you.
    • You may order a Grab-n-Go meal from the UDS Web site (https://umn.webfood.com). You must place your order before 5 p.m. for pickup the following day. If you live in any of the four Superblock halls (Centennial, Frontier, Territorial, Pioneer), your order can be picked up at the Centennial Market after 7 a.m. If you live in Sanford, Middlebrook, Comstock, or Bailey, your order will be available for pickup in your hall's dining center when it opens the next day. If you live in one of the on-campus apartments (Yudof, Wilkins, University Village) and have a meal plan, your pickup location will be one of the following:

      For Yudof Hall: Comstock Hall Dining
      For Wilkins Hall: Sanford Hall Dining
      For University Village: Centennial Hall Dining

    • Your friend/roommate will be required to provide your U Card to the checker in order to pick up your Grab-n-Go meal to bring back to your room for you.
    • If you do not have a friend/roommate to assist you, notify the Central Housing Office at housing@umn.edu or at 612-624-2994 each day that you need to have meals delivered to your room. Do this by sending an e-mail to housing@umn.edu or calling 612-624-2994 by 4 p.m. to initiate a meal package delivery to your room for the following day. If you need meals on the weekend, notify the Central Housing Office by noon on Fridays. The meal package will be delivered to your room between 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. on the day after you notify the Central Housing Office. The meals will consist of foods recommended for this type of illness. The delivery person will knock on your door to let you know they have placed the meal package outside your room door.

FOR THOSE WHO HAVE UNDERLYING MEDICAL CONCERNS

  • If you have underlying medical concerns such as diabetes, asthma, cardiovascular disease, or a compromised immune system, or if you are pregnant, you should contact your medical provider immediately if you are exposed to a person with influenza or if you become ill.
  • If you are living with a roommate(s) who becomes ill, and your roommate(s) is unable to go home, you should return home if possible until after your roommate(s) recover.
  • If you are unable to return home, you should contact your hall business office at(#) to determine if another space is available on campus for you to stay in temporarily, until your roommate(s) has fully recovered.

It's important to keep in mind that for most people who have contracted the 2009 H1N1 flu their symptoms have been mild to moderate. Most people are ill five to seven days and able to recover through self-care (taking fever reducing medications, staying hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, and getting enough rest). The most important thing you can do if you become ill is to return home, if possible, and rest until you are better, or to stay in your room/apartment until you've fully recovered.

It's also important for you to stay updated on the latest information regarding the 2009 H1N1 flu throughout the flu season. E-mail updates will be sent to you weekly, and the University's 2009 H1N1 flu Web site will be updated frequently with the latest information. This e-mail notification will be posted on the Housing & Residential Life Web site for future reference.

Please follow the guidelines in this e-mail and make every effort to keep yourself and your friends healthy throughout this flu season.

Sincerely,

Laurie McLaughlin, Director
Housing & Residential Life

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University of Minnesota Pandemic Influenza Response Plan (332 K pdf)