As you prepare to come to Lehigh for the start of the new academic year, we understand that you may be concerned about the possibility of the spread of the novel H1N1 influenza (swine flu) virus, and the potential impact on you.
While there have been no cases of the H1N1 virus on our campus yet, we are continually monitoring the situation and preparing for the probable arrival of this flu at Lehigh. Our goal is to minimize the consequences of this illness on our students and educational mission.
We continue to follow the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), particularly the recommendations for reducing transmission. In addition, our campus is fortunate to have recently been designated a state sentinel surveillance site for influenza, which affords us greater access to confirmatory laboratory tests.
We are reminding members of the campus community to take precautions as outlined by the CDC on their website (http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/
). These basic guidelines include simple precautions such as washing hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds or using alcohol-based hand sanitizers when water is not available.
Because it is important to wash hands before preparing or eating food, the university has installed hand sanitizer dispensers in the dining halls.
The CDC also reminds us that anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms should avoid close contact with others as much as possible. That means not going to class or social gatherings for at least 24 hours after the fever breaks.
Lehigh students who develop symptoms of fever of at least 100 degrees F, with a sore throat and/or cough, should call the university’s Health and Wellness Center at 610-758-3870. Appointments are available 8:15 to 4:30 weekdays, and 10:00 to 2:00 on Saturday for emergencies.
If medical attention is needed beyond those hours, students are advised to call the Lehigh University Police Department at 610-758-4200.
Students diagnosed with H1N1 influenza should do their best to self-isolate for at least 24 hours after the fever breaks, as per the CDC at www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/guidance_homecare.htm
As always, we encourage students to come to campus with a first aid kit that includes a thermometer and medications for fever and aches. Families who are able to bring their sick children home to recuperate will be encouraged to do so. Students who are ill prior to the start of the fall semester should stay home until at least 24 hours after the fever breaks before travelling to campus.
If you become ill and miss class because you must remain isolated for a period of several days, you should contact your instructor to obtain relevant class information. Faculty will do their best to help absent students remain current with their coursework.
We encourage you to visit the dedicated page on the Lehigh Web site at www.lehigh.edu/swineflu
for the latest information.
We look forward to welcoming you to campus later this month, and to a healthy and productive academic year. For more information on our services, please see our website at www.lehigh.edu/health
Dr. Susan Kitei
Lehigh University Health and Wellness Center