President Glasser: Swine Flu Update and Prevention

Bradley University is being vigilant as the Swine Influenza is spreading across parts of the country. We have created a plan and are monitoring our students carefully. So far this fall, no cases of the H1N1 (Swine Flu) have been reported on our campus, but more than half of the colleges reporting to the American College Health Association have experienced the virus on their campuses. It appears inevitable that we will be challenged with this virus and I ask everyone’s assistance to prepare and focus on prevention.

Prevention is our emphasis at Bradley.  We are asking our campus community to practice the three C’s: Clean, Cover and Contain. If students have any flu-like symptoms, they are encouraged to immediately call the Bradley Health Center – 677-2700 – at the Markin Center to be examined. Faculty and staff should call their personal healthcare providers.

Additional Swine Flu Resources

Clean: To facilitate prevention and cleanliness, “wellness stations” with hand sanitizers will be installed in every building on campus. It may be obvious, but hand washing is a key to stopping the spread of disease. We’ve asked faculty and staff to have hand sanitizers in every office, classroom and work area to facilitate cleanliness. In addition, disinfectant wipes will be provided in high touch public areas, such as the library computer lab. Please use them regularly. Sanitizers and wipes are already available in restrooms, food service areas and around exercise equipment, but our intention is to broaden their use in every available venue.

Cover: Prevention also includes covering your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze. It is recommended that you cover with your arm or sleeve, rather than your hand, so as to avoid the transfer of germs.

Contain: Our containment efforts involve instructing students who have been ill to stay in their room or apartment, except to seek medical attention, to avoid infecting others. Students living in residence halls or other university housing who test positive for the flu will be instructed to return to their family homes, providing they do not live too far away. We trust parents will assist in this effort. Students who live a further distance away will be moved to Wendle 3 until they feel better. In each of these instances, meals will be provided to these students.

As in the past, the university has a supply of masks, gloves and gowns available. Seasonal flu vaccinations should be available by mid-October; they will be dispensed at the Health Center, Student Center and residence halls. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the flu vaccine. We are hoping to receive a supply of H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine later in the fall. We will let you know when that becomes available.

Members of the faculty have been asked to be considerate of students in cases of diagnosed illness. Attendance policies should be flexible. The Office of the Provost may suspend the need for student documentation from the Health Center of an illness. In that event, if a student becomes ill, the student should inform the instructor by phone, text message or e-mail. Faculty will work with students to provide make-up assignments as appropriate with the goal of allowing students to complete courses in a timely manner. Students will not be penalized for missing class due to illness. Moreover, faculty members have been asked to place course materials on Sakai or on Blackboard so students can retrieve them anytime from anyplace they have Internet access.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that symptoms of swine flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people who are infected suffer from nausea or diarrhea.

Let me re-emphasize ways to protect yourself from the flu:

  • Wash your hands! Frequent and thorough hand washing with soap and water is essential. Waterless hand sanitizers work well.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.  Then dispose of the tissue and wash your hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are ill or who have flu-like symptoms.  If you get sick, keep your distance from others.
  • Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth to reduce the chance of getting flu germs in your system.
  • Sleep. Do not stay up all night studying. Sleep deprivation lowers your ability to fight off any virus.
  • Eat breakfast and drink plenty of fluids.
  • Manage your stress. If you have concerns, contact Health Services at 677-2700 or the Counseling Center at 677-2408.  

Our Health Center is monitoring the situation and is in communication with health officials in the community. The University has activated our Pandemic Flu Committee and we are ready to respond to any flu outbreak on campus or in the area.

For additional information about this strain of flu, please see the CDC website: www.cdc.gov/swineflu/swineflu_you.htm. If you have further questions, do not hesitate to contact the Office of Student Affairs, 309-677-3140 or go to Bradley’s webpage http://emergency.bradley.edu/swineflu/.

I hope we all stay healthy and safe during this fall flu season.