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Updated: May 1- Info about H1N1 Flu & Suggested Precautions

According to the CDC, one case of Influenza A (H1N1) has been reported in Kentucky, and Berea College officials continue to monitor the situation in close coordination with local, state and federal offices.

The following message originated on April 30. While the statistical information it outdated the preventative measures recommended should continue to be observed.

NOTE: The following information is sent on behalf of Berea College Health Services and the College’s Planning and Assessment Team regarding the College’s Pandemic/Epidemic Response Plan.

No cases of swine influenza, also known as Influenza A (H1N1), have been reported in Kentucky yet. However, Berea College officials are monitoring the situation in close coordination with local, state and federal offices. Berea’s Planning and Assessment Team, composed of a cross-section of professionals from Health Services, Public Safety, Student Life, Environmental Health and Safety, and Facilities Management, has been meeting to review the College’s Pandemic/Epidemic Response Plan and to monitor alerts and postings from the World Health Organization, the Center for Disease Control, and the Kentucky Department of Public Health as well as the Madison County Health Department in order to keep the group informed.

Please be reminded of the recommended simple precautions that will reduce likelihood of infection:

  • Wash your hands frequently.

  • Cover your cough/sneeze with a tissue (or even your elbow).

  • Seek medical attention if you have symptoms. (Call or go to College Health Services – ext. 3212)

Know the Facts

A virus becomes a serious public health issue when it acquires the ability to cause serious illness, and in some cases death, and develops the ability to spread rapidly from one individual to another, infecting large numbers within days.

Currently, no vaccine has been developed specifically for this swine flu strain, but since all influenza viruses behave in more or less the same manner, spreading from person to person through coughs and sneezes, the same principles of prevention and containment (i.e. limiting direct physical contact) apply.

The most important measure is the simple act of hand-washing, which should be done often and thoroughly, especially before meals and before any activity involving touching your face, eyes, mouth, etc. If soap and water are not readily available, alcohol-based hand sanitizers are highly recommended as an alternative.

It is also recommended that you cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze or cough, and throw any used tissues in the trash. Also, to help prevent spreading germs, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

Do not share lipsticks, cigarettes, drinking utensils and straws. Eating after others is never a good idea, because someone may be in the incubation phase of the infection, which can be as long as seven days. Use caution when coming into contact with other publicly shared items, such as grocery carts.  Of course, avoid the company of people who exhibit symptoms.

The flu typically has a sudden beginning and rapid progression. Symptoms include fever greater than 100.4F, chills, sweats, bad headache, diffuse body aches, with even the eye balls sore to move. A bad cough, either with or without chest pain, a sore throat, and a stuffy nose are also present. Fatigue and weakness are often overwhelming.  Gastrointestinal symptoms of diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting, either with or without abdominal pain are common experiences in younger people. As with the more common seasonal flu, underlying chronic medical conditions may worsen.

If these symptoms appear, stay at home or in your room, do not go to work or class, and avoid contact with others as much as possible. Call College Health Services or your own health care provider to discuss your symptoms and follow the provider’s suggestions and recommendations.  Also, while waiting to see your health care provider, get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids (no caffeine or alcohol), and take Tylenol or Ibuprofen for headaches, body aches, fevers and chills, unless you have a problem with these medications or are pregnant. Do not take Aspirin or Aspirin products if you suspect the flu.

Seek emergency medical care if you experience any of the following warning signs: difficulty breathing, pain or pressure in chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness, confusion or severe or persistent vomiting.

As always, the safety and well-being of all members of Berea’s campus community is our priority. As this national situation continues to evolve, additional updates and recommendations may be forthcoming.

Here are some Web sites you can visit for more complete and continually updated information:

You may also contact the Madison County Health Department at 623-7312.

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