"Either one of the illnesses could show up as soon as the students do, but we're working hard to be prepared," Mitchell said, adding that so far, swine flu, or the H1N1 virus, has not been more serious nationally than seasonal influenza. "Probably the best thing all of us can do to be ready is take sensible precautions."
First of all, educate yourself about the symptoms of the illnesses, Mitchell said. Both swine flu and seasonal flu have the same symptoms: fever or chills and a cough or sore throat. Other symptoms may include runny nose, body aches, headache, tiredness, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Mitchell said the university asks anyone with flu symptoms to stay home, or in their residence hall rooms in the case of many students, for at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever without the use of fever reducing medicines such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen.
Mitchell said that swine flu vaccinations are expected in Bozeman sometime later in the fall. First priority will be vaccinating pregnant women, young children and adults with chronic illnesses, he said.
Mitchell said that the best thing that members of the MSU and Bozeman community can do is to take sensible precautions, including:
- Stay healthy by eating well, exercising and getting enough sleep.
- Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze. Cough into your sleeve, shoulder or elbow. Even a bare arm is better than your hands. If you use a tissue, wash your hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer immediately.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
"And don't forget to get your regular seasonal flu vaccinations," he said.
Mitchell said that currently, there are no recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to cancel classes or large public events at MSU or other universities.
Mitchell said that more information about the swine flu or H1N1 virus is available at the CDC web site at www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/
Jim Mitchell (406) 994-5901, email@example.com