Southeastern keeping students informed about influenza
Contact: Tonya Lowentritt
HAMMOND – While health officials at Southeastern Louisiana University have seen only slightly more than 50 students reporting flu-like symptoms, the university continues to take steps to ensure students are well informed about influenza and the steps they can take to minimize their risk.
“We’ve been fortunate so far that only a handful of the students who have reported having influenza-like illnesses were living in residence halls; all the others resided off-campus and they have all been asked to self-isolate until they have recovered,” said Vera Williams, nurse practitioner and director of Southeastern’s Vera W. Thomason Health Center.
She said the university is encouraging students to contact their individual physicians or to visit the university’s Health Center if they show symptoms of the flu: fever, lethargy, lack of appetite, coughing, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Students are being discouraged from visiting hospital emergency rooms unless symptoms are very severe or tend to worsen.
Representatives of the Southeast Louisiana Region IX Office of Public Health were on campus Wednesday (Oct. 7) distributing literature on the H1N1 and seasonal influenzas and answering students’ questions about the diseases and the vaccines.
“The students had lots of questions, so I’m glad we were here to be able to address their concerns,” said Jeremy Thomas, community outreach coordinator for regional office.
“In addition to the H1N1 virus, we will also be contending with the seasonal flu we see every year, and they had questions about that as well,” Thomas said.
Williams said Southeastern’s Health Center is offering the seasonal flu vaccine for students, faculty and staff and has applied to participate in the H1N1 vaccine distribution program. That vaccine is expected to available later this fall. Children, pregnant women, young people and those with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes and asthma are especially vulnerable to serious complications and are considered high-risk groups, according to the CDC.
Williams recommended that students seeking additional information visit the following Web sites, considered to be reliable sources of information: