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August 26, 2009

Today the University of Memphis Office of Student Health Services (SHS) identified the first suspected case of H1N1 (swine) flu at the U of M campus.  Two students, neither of whom were residing on campus, reported to SHS complaining of flu-like symptoms.  Tests conducted by the medical staff at SHS indicated that one student has some type of flu, and another student has a flu-like infection, although the tests did not identify it as flu.  As a result, the University has activated its emergency response plan to deal with H1N1. The University is taking steps, based on the advice of the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, and the Tennessee and Shelby County public health officials, to minimize the spread of H1N1 (swine) flu. 

U of M health officials highly recommend flu shots for seasonal flu.  The University will provide on-campus inoculation for seasonal flu beginning September 22.  The cost is $18.  A schedule of dates, times and places for the shots is available online at http://saweb.memphis.edu/health/immunization/flushots.htm

The University is also planning to provide inoculations for the H1N1 (swine) flu to students, faculty, and staff at the University of Memphis when the vaccine becomes available.  The University has already pre-registered to receive the vaccine; however, we may receive only limited supplies of the vaccine, and the priority for dispensing it to groups at varying levels of risk from the H1N1 virus will be decided by federal and state health officials.  As of now, we do not know when it will arrive; however, as soon as we do know, we will notify the campus about the places and times for on-campus inoculation.

Prevention is the best ‘cure.’  Here are some of the best ways to stay healthy; we urge you to adopt these precautions:

  • Routinely and frequently wipe shared surfaces, e.g., doorknobs, stair handrails, telephone handsets, computer keyboards, etc., with alcohol-based germicidal cleaners.
  • Keep hand sanitizer dispensers or towelettes available for use in classrooms and areas of frequent interaction among people, e.g., receptionists’ desks, computer labs, etc.
  • Cover your mouth and nose whenever you cough or sneeze.  Preferably, cough or sneeze “into your sleeve or elbow.”  If you use a tissue, throw it away after you’ve used it once.
  • Wash your hands often, especially after you cough or sneeze; use soap and water.  Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective in killing flu germs.
  • Avoid shaking hands with other people whenever possible.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.  Germs spread easily that way.
  • Get the seasonal flu shot; it will be available on campus for $18.  A schedule is posted at:  http://saweb.memphis.edu/health/immunization/flushots.htm
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.  The recommended distance between people is a minimum of 6 feet.  Flu symptoms can include fever, body aches, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, vomiting, and/or diarrhea.
  • If  YOU are sick, stay home and stay away from others.  When you have been fever-free – without the use of fever-reducing medication – for 24 hours, then you may return to school or work.

Student Health Service’s blog – www.uofmshs.typepad.com – already carries recommendations for protecting yourself from the flu.  Student Health Services will also use Twitter to send up-to-the-minute messages regarding the H1N1 (swine) flu; the Twitter URL is www.twitter.com/uofmshs.

The University has also developed a Web page specifically about the H1N1 (swine) flu and our efforts to combat it on campus.  That URL is:  www.memphis.edu/swineflu.php

If you have specific questions not answered in this letter, please contact the University’s Student Health Services by phone at 901-678-2287, or visit the SHS Web site, http://saweb.memphis.edu/health


Shirley C. Raines
President
341 Administration Building
Memphis, TN 38152

Phone: 901 678-2234
Fax:     901 678-5065

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