Prevention is again proving to be the best medicine. As of the time this issue went to print, Nebraska Wesleyan University has seen far fewer cases of the H1N1 flu virus than many have feared. We believe our relative success in avoiding a full-fledged outbreak on campus thus far has been the result of both luck and diligent prevention.
While we can’t control our luck, the university can control its prevention efforts. Those efforts have been multifaceted.
Nebraska Wesleyan University’s Student Health Services launched its “Shoo the Flu at NWU” campaign at the beginning of the fall semester. It involved building awareness of flu symptoms, administering seasonal flu shots and the H1N1 vaccine, and promoting hygienic and self-isolation prevention practices.
The university supported those prevention strategies with increased investments in things like hand soap, hand sanitizer, paper towels and disinfecting wipes for general use. Administrators also encouraged professors and coaches to work with students individually in the event of an outbreak to make it easier for ill students to self-isolate.
The university continues to update its crisis contingency planning and communication strategies regarding virus outbreaks. Should conditions warrant such a measure, the university has arranged for housing that could be used as a treatment area to care for and isolate sick students.
Here is a look at the steps the university is taking to be ready for potential flu outbreaks.
- Monitor H1N1 flu’s worldwide and local impacts.
- Communicate proper hygiene in front of any outbreak.
- Coordinate with local and state health officials.
- Follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for colleges, which call for:
- practicing good hygiene;
- promoting and facilitating self isolation;
- visiting your health care provider;
- discouraging campus visits during outbreaks;
- sharing information at the parents section of www.nebrwesleyan.edu; and
- recommending seasonal flu shots and the H1N1 vaccine.