SMU Flu Preparedness

Flu

SMU’s Standards Regarding Seasonal Flu As Recommended by CDC

 

Encourage Vaccination

  • Encourage employees and students to get vaccinated for seasonal influenza.

Facilitate self-isolation of residential students with flu-like illness

  • Those with flu-like illness should stay away from classes and limit interactions with other people (called “self-isolation”), except to seek medical care, for at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever, or signs of a fever, without the use of fever-reducing medicines. Some people with influenza will not have fever; therefore, absence of fever does not mean absence of infection. They should stay away from others during this time period even if they are taking antiviral drugs for treatment of the flu.
     
  • Students with a private room should remain in their room and receive care and meals from a single person. Students can establish a “flu buddy scheme” in which students pair up to care for each other if one or the other becomes ill. Additionally, students can contact staff by e-mail, text messaging, or phone calls.
     
  • If close contact with others cannot be avoided, the ill student should wear a surgical mask during the period of contact. Examples of close contact include kissing, sharing eating or drinking utensils, or having any other contact between persons likely to result in exposure to respiratory droplets.
     
  • Instruct students with flu-like illness to promptly seek medical attention if they have a medical condition that puts them at increased risk of severe illness from flu, are concerned about their illness, or develop severe symptoms such as increased fever, shortness of breath, chest pain or pressure, or rapid breathing.

Promote self-isolation at home by non-resident students, faculty, and staff

  • Non-residential students, faculty, and staff with flu-like illness should be asked to self-isolate at home or at a friend’s or family member’s home until at least 24 hours after they are free of fever, or signs of a fever, without the use of fever-reducing medicines.

Recommended employer responses

  • Encourage sick employees to stay home.
     
  • If an employee becomes ill at work, inform fellow employees of their possible exposure in the workplace to influenza-like illness but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Considerations for high-risk students, faculty and staff

  • People at high risk for flu complications who become ill with flu-like illness should speak with their health care provider as soon as possible. Early treatment with antiviral medications often can prevent hospitalizations and deaths. Groups that are at higher risk of complications from flu if they get sick include: children younger than age 5; people age 65 or older; children and adolescents (younger than age 18) who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy and who might be at risk for experiencing Reye’s syndrome after flu virus infection; pregnant women; adults and children who have asthma, other chronic pulmonary, cardiovascular, hepatic, hematological, neurologic, neuromuscular, or metabolic disorders such as diabetes; and adults and children with immunosuppression (including immunosuppression caused by medications or by HIV). People age 65 and older, however, appear to be at lower risk of 2009 H1N1 infection compared to younger people. But, if older adults do get sick from flu, they are at increased risk of having a severe illness.
     
  • One of the best ways to protect against the flu is to get vaccinated against the flu.