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Concord University Taking Proactive Approach Against H1N1 Virus
Athens, W.Va. - Concord University continues to take a proactive approach against a possible outbreak of the H1N1 virus (swine flu) as the illness spreads across the United States.
The University’s Emergency Preparedness Team is focusing its efforts on prevention through common sense measures while being prepared in the event of an outbreak on campus.
“We’re getting ahead of the curve,” Mark Stella, chief of the University’s police department and chairperson of the Emergency Preparedness Team, said. “We’re prepared if we have some cases on campus.”
Dr. Marjie Flanigan, Concord’s interim vice president of student affairs and interim director of retention, stresses that common sense hygiene is key to preventing the spread of the H1N1 virus and seasonal influenza.
“Concord University is taking a proactive approach to make certain that the entire Concord community is focused on prevention,” she said. “We want everybody to use common sense and use good hygiene and not take unnecessary risks.”
"Our office is available to help parents and students to make sure everybody stays safe,” she said.
Citing national guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Flanigan urges persons to wash their hands frequently and dispose of used tissues properly. In an effort to stay healthy, everyone should get proper rest, exercise and eat right, she said.
Last semester dispensers with hand sanitizer were installed near doorways of high-traffic areas at Concord. In addition, hand sanitizer and tissues continue to be distributed throughout the campus.
Increased efforts to cut down on germs have been integrated into routine cleaning by the University’s custodians.
“The custodial staff is taking extra precautions...wiping tables, door knobs, handrails, high traffic areas,” Stella said.
According to the CDC, the following are everyday actions people can take to remain healthy: 1) Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. 2) Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective. 3) Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way. 4) Try to avoid close contact with sick people. 5) Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people. 6) If you get sick, the CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
Concord officials are urging students, faculty and staff to stay home from class or work if they are sick to help control the spread of germs.
“If students need to miss class due to illness, they should contact their instructors by phone or e-mail or according to instructions provided in the course syllabus,” Flanigan said.
Posters provided by the CDC and the Department of Health & Human Services, USA, are posted around the Concord campus alerting persons who feel sick to “stay home or in your residence, except to get medical care.”
“The symptoms of novel H1N1 flu virus in people are similar to the symptoms of seasonal flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue,” states the CDC web-site. “A significant number of people who have been infected with novel H1N1 flu virus also have reported diarrhea and vomiting.”
“If you are sick, you may be ill for a week or longer. You should stay home and keep away from others as much as possible, including avoiding travel and not going to work or school, for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities,” the CDC website says.
Stella said the Emergency Preparedness Team continues to monitor national, state and local developments relating to the H1N1 virus. He encourages the Concord community to stay informed on the subject as a means of prevention.
CONCORD UNIVERSITY NOTES: Persons with disabilities should contact Nancy Ellison at 1‐304‐384‐6086 or 1‐800‐344-6679, extension 6086 if special assistance or help is required for access to an event scheduled by the University on campus.