H1N1 Update: Sept. 15, 2009

September 15, 2009

University Health Services (UHS) saw a tenfold increase in patients with influenza-like illness (ILI) during the week of Sept. 7. On Monday, Sept. 14, more than 60 students with ILI were seen -- more than on any previous day. As the number of cases increase, UHS reminds ill students that most people who get H1N1 influenza recover completely with rest and self-care, and do not need to see a health care provider.

For students who have typical flu symptoms (fever greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, cough, body aches, sore throat and possibly mild vomiting or diarrhea) and have no underlying health condition, are not pregnant or immune-compromised, it is fine to self-isolate and follow recommendations available on the UHS Web site.

However, there are a number of danger signs that require medical attention. These include:

  • -- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • -- Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • -- Sudden dizziness
  • -- Confusion
  • -- Severe or persistent vomiting
  • -- Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and a more severe cough
  • -- Severe headache or neck stiffness
  • -- Difficulty swallowing fluids

Students experiencing any of these symptoms should call UHS or another health care provider for evaluation. In addition, students who are pregnant, have significant underlying health conditions such as asthma or diabetes or are immune compromised are at risk for developing complications from H1N1 influenza and should see their health care provider if they have symptoms of the flu.

It is important for ill students to do their part and deter the spread of flu by following recommended isolation procedures. It is best for students to return home to recover. If it is not possible for students to return home, residence life area staff can help ill students relocate to rooms which allow separation from well students.

Ill students should identify a friend who can check in with them daily and deliver food and supplies as needed. Campus residents who are self-isolating (in their residence hall room) will be able to have a friend or roommate pick up a box meal at the commons desk. The friend will need to provide the sick student’s ID card number so that box meals can be charged to the student’s campus meal plan.

For additional tips on what to do if you have the flu, download the UHS flyer at http://www.sa.psu.edu/uhs/pdf/if_you_have_flu.pdf online. UHS’s Self Care Guide for Flu is available at http://www.sa.psu.edu/uhs/pdf/self_care_flu.pdf online. For more information on Penn State’s preparation for H1N1 this fall, visit http://www.flu.psu.edu/ online. General information about H1N1 influenza is available at http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/general_info.htm.

Last Updated September 22, 2009