Let’s Talk About the Flu

Student Health sent a message to all of campus yesterday regarding high numbers of students presenting with the flu.  Here is the text of that message:

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The following message is sent on behalf of the Wake Forest Student Health Service:

The Student Health Service has begun to see large numbers of students (especially undergraduates) with influenza, “the flu”.  Typical symptoms include sudden onset of fever, body aches, headaches, sore throat, cough, and fatigue.  Influenza is typically a self limiting illness that last from 5-7 days.  Influenza is a highly contagious illness that is easily spread in a classroom setting.

The purpose of this e-mail is to inform faculty, staff and students of this outbreak and to encourage appropriate public health measures with respect to class attendance and participation in other mandated activities.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends that anyone with symptoms of influenza stay home from work and/or school until the fever associated with the illness has been resolved for at least 24 hours. These individuals should stay home from work, school, travel, shopping, social events, and public gatherings.

To reduce the spread of this illness, students should not be expected to attend class, labs, or other academic gatherings with these symptoms.  Because of high demand for clinical services, students should not be required to obtain documentation of this illness from the Student Health Service; faculty are encouraged to accept the verbal report from the student. We also encourage students to avoid contact in other settings including social gatherings, the library and eating in public dining venues.

Additional general information about the flu can be found at:

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/keyfacts.htm

Students: Please read additional information about how to manage this illness, obtain meal passes and avoid catching the flu in our “FAQs for Students.”

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It’s important that your students read the FAQs for Students above because it can help direct them to resources for food as well as self-care tips and answers the question “I have the flu.  Should I go to class?”  Be sure they are aware that: “An email has been sent to all faculty advising them of this outbreak and that students should not be expected to attend class, labs, or other academic gatherings with these symptoms.  Because of high demand for clinical services, students should not be required to obtain documentation of this illness from the Student Health Service; faculty are encourage to accept the verbal report from the student.”

As parents and family members, I know it has to be very difficult to be away from your student when she or he is ill.  But rest assured that there are number of departments (Student Health, Academic Advising and Dean’s Office, Residence Life and Housing, ARAMARK/Campus Dining) who are doing all they can to help those who are ill to recuperate.

What can you do if your student is ill?  From a distance, not much, beyond moral support.  Let them know you love them and let them rest in bed.  As always, remind your students to wash hands, use hand sanitizer, and do all those personal cleanliness/care things moms and dads have been teaching their kids since toddlerdom.

Should Student Health feel the need for further updates, we’ll post them on the Parents’ Page.  We hope your Deacs avoid the flu!

 

— by Betsy Chapman

 

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