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H1N1 flu update from RIC Health Services – Nov. 9

Influenza activity in Rhode Island is now widespread and there have been numerous cases of flu on campus among both resident and commuter students as well as faculty and staff. We are not aware of anyone from the RIC community who has required hospitalization and most individuals are recovering within 3 to 5 days.

According to the R.I. Department of Health, H1N1 vaccine may be available for college students through 24 years of age by the first or second week of December. Registration to receive the vaccine will be online so it is important to check your RIC email account regularly. You will be notified as soon as vaccine clinic dates are set and log-in and password information will be provided.

You must pre-register; no walk-ins will be accepted. If you are not 18 years of age, please download a copy of the parental consent form from: www.health.state.ri.us and have it signed by a parent prior to the clinic date. A college I.D. will be necessary to receive the vaccine.

No one over 25 will be eligible for vaccine on campus. Per R.I. Department of Health guidelines, adults 25 and older must obtain the vaccine from their primary care provider’s office or at public clinics that will be announced at a future date. If you have any questions about the clinics, please contact the R.I. Department of Health H1N1 Information Line at (401) 222-8022, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 pm.

The H1N1 vaccine has been manufactured and tested the same way as the seasonal flu vaccine. To read more about the safety of the H1N1 vaccine, visit:
www.health.ri.gov/news/H1N1Advisories/H1N1FluVaccineSafety.pdf

www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/vaccination/vaccine_safety_qa.htm

In treating symptoms of influenza, please be aware of the differences between the prescription antiviral medication Tamiflu and the over-the-counter medication Theraflu. Some preparations of Theraflu have high doses of acetaminophen or Tylenol and may not be safe for children and should not be taken with other products containing Tylenol.

Additional information can be found in this recently issued press release: www.ri.gov/press/view/10086

Finally, we continue to encourage our campus community to practice everyday preventive actions to avoid the flu, including frequent hand washing and staying home when ill. Be prepared if you do get sick by keeping a supply of over-the-counter medicines, alcohol-based hand sanitizer, tissues or other related items that might be useful and help avoid the need to go out in public while you are contagious.

An updated version of the CDC’s “2009 H1N1 Flu & You” was recently posted and summarizes important key points about this year’s flu season: www.cdc.gov/flu/freeresources/2009-10/pdf/h1n1andyou.pdf

As always, you may contact RIC Health Services at (401) 456-8055 for questions or concerns, but please be aware that call volumes are very high and your patience is appreciated.

Lynn Wachtel, FNP
Director of Health Services