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Campuses prepare for H1N1 flu

September 1, 2009 3:31:42 PM PDT
Chicago-area colleges and universities are starting fall classes with an added focus this year. They are preparing for the possibility that some students will get sick with the H1N1 flu virus. College students are among the population of young people most susceptible to the H1N1 flu or colleges and universities are doing their part to prevent an outbreak. They're encouraging students to stock up on hand sanitizer and thermometers in addition to their textbooks and other school supplies.

College students are heading back to campus and they're doing more than studying for class to prepare for the school year.

"It's realistically taking care of yourself making sure you do everything to keep healthy," said Martin Pugliese, Loyola University student.

"A lot of hand sanitizers, keeping myself clean whenever possible," said Mike Ortiz, Loyola University student.

Many students at Loyola University are doing their part to avoid contracting the H1N1 flu virus. One student, a sophomore, was affected with a mild case, but is now doing well and is back in class.

Loyola's wellness center notified students about the case through Twitter, Facebook and the school Web site which encourages those who are sick to go home or stay in their residence until at least 24 hours after their fever goes away.

"For all those students who may become ill, we really want to focus on students and what we can do to prevent from becoming ill," said Diane Asaro, Loyola University.

At Columbia College, administrators are preparing for the start of school next week and that includes developing a procedure to handle any possible cases of the H1N1 virus.

"In the event that one of our students gets sick in a residence hall, we've identified a number of rooms to relocate the roommate to a non-contaminated room," said Bob Koverman, Columbia College.

Concerns about the H1N1 virus prompted drugstores to start vaccinations for the seasonal flu earlier than normal.

A vaccination just for the H1N1 virus is expected to be available later in the fall.

"I think that people are more aware because of the h1n1 that took place last spring and it's all over the media," said Anne-Marie Maida, family nurse practitioner.

The seasonal flu vaccine will not protect against the H1N1 virus so you will need to get the H1N1 shot when it's released.

People in high risk categories will be the first ones to get the H1N1 shot such as pregnant women and young children.


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