pH1N1 Information

(revised Jan. 12, 2010)

PLEASE NOTE: If you need to miss a final examination for health reasons (including suspected H1N1), you MUST obtain documentation from a physician while you are ill. Failure to obtain documentation may result in a mark of zero being assigned for the final examination.

What is pH1N1?

The pH1N1 flu virus is a strain of influenza that causes symptoms similar to those of the regular human seasonal flu. The pH1N1 flu virus has been reported around the world, and the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared it a pandemic influenza virus. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and the British Columbia Ministry of Health Services and its health authorities, including Fraser Health, continue to monitor and respond to the spread of pH1N1 flu virus. The vast majority of flu cases in B.C continue to be associated with relatively mild symptoms, however we are increasingly aware of rare but severe illness in some young people.

What are the symptoms of pH1N1 flu?

The symptoms of the pH1N1 flu virus include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with the pH1N1 flu virus.

How does pH1N1 flu spread?

The pH1N1 flu virus is mainly spread by close person-to-person contact through coughing or sneezing by people infected with the pH1N1 flu virus. (PHAC advises maintaining a distance of two meters from others)People may also become infected by touching something with the pH1N1 flu virus on it, such as counters or doorknobs, and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.

You can reduce the risk of getting pH1N1 or spreading it to others by:

  • Washing your hands regularly with warm water and regular soap, especially after you cough or sneeze.
  • When you can't wash your hands, use a hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, throw the tissue in the trash right after you use it, and wash or sanitize your hands right away.
  • If you don't have a tissue, cough and sneeze into your upper arm or sleeve.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth as germs can spread that way.
  • If you get sick, stay home and limit contact with others.

If you have been in contact with someone who has pH1N1 flu

It is important to monitor yourself for symptoms. If you are not feeling sick, you do not need to stay home from work or school, see a doctor or take preventative medicine. Individuals can call HealthLink BC 8-1-1 or visit HealthLink BC online, 24 hours a day / 7 days a week if they have questions or concerns.

If you think you have developed symptoms of pH1N1 flu

Please go to the H1N1 Symptom Checker. This tool will give you the appropriate instructions on seeking care. You may be asked to call 8-1-1 or your health care provider. Most people will recover without medical treatment.

Contact your health care provider if:

  • the symptoms seem unusually severe in the first 1-2 days
  • you have an underlying disease such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, etc.
  • you are experiencing shortness of breath (difficulty getting enough air)
  • your illness is getting steadily worse, especially between Day 3-5.

High Risk Individuals

Antiviral Treatment
People at high risk for flu complications who become ill with flu-like illness should speak with their health care provider as soon as possible. Early treatment with antiviral medications often can prevent severe complications. Groups that are at higher risk include; pregnant women and people with chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, heart disease, immune compromise or diabetes ) and children under the age of 2.

Self Isolation

If you have developed symptoms of H1N1 flu you should self-isolate, which means staying home and limiting contact with others including avoiding travel and not going to work or school, for at least 5 days from the onset of your illness.  If at day 5 you have had fever  (>37.8 C or 100 F as measured without the use of fever-reducing medication) within the last 24 hours, or continue to have a significant cough, then extend the self isolation to 7 days. This will decrease the chance of spreading the virus to other people. Treat mild symptoms as you normally would with rest and fluids.

If you need personalized advice you can contact HealthLink BC 8-1-1 or visit HealthLink BC online, 24 hours a day / 7 days a week; students can contact the TWU Wellness Centre at 604-513-2024 or their health care provider.

Emergency Warning Signs

It is expected that most people will recover from H1N1 flu without needing medical care. Emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough.

If you need personalized advice you can contact HealthLink BC by calling 8-1-1 or visiting www.healthlinkbc.ca, 24 hours a day / 7 days a week. Students can contact the TWU Wellness Centre at 604-513-2024 or their health care provider. . For emergency and local health service provider information, visit TWU's Emergency Contact Numbers list.

Self Reporting

Surveillance of the number of H1N1 like illness on campus will help our response. Please self report H1N1 illness This information will be used for tracking illness rates and communicating your absence to related personnel on campus (e.g. your professors). Do not include specific symptoms.

The academic administration monitors circumstances each semester that could create a disruption to course delivery. If adjustments to normal protocols are necessary during a semester, the Office of the Provost issues a notice. A plan is in place that will allow courses to continue with online technology if that is needed. If individual students have questions/concerns during the semester, they should contact their professors for direction.

PLEASE NOTE: If you need to miss a final examination for health reasons (including suspected H1N1), you MUST obtain documentation from a physician while you are ill. Failure to obtain documentation may result in a mark of zero being assigned for the final examination.

How TWU is Responding

TWU has installed hand-sanitizers across campus, at the entrance to cafeterias and food courts, in large study areas and where people tend to eat and study.

We have also put posters of proper sneezing and coughing techniques and a reminder about the importance of regular hand washing.

In student residences, staff members are being trained to assist students with flu-like symptoms. Identified cases will be encouraged to self isolate. Staff will ensure that self-isolated students get food and anything else they need delivered to them, along with a self-isolation kit. If these students do need to enter public areas, they are provided with surgical masks to help curtail germ transmission.

What about Vaccinations?

TWU is working with Langley Public health to offer the H1N1 vaccine to the appropriate population.

Please see vaccines for more information.

Resources

The Student Life Wellness department has launched Student Health 101, a subscription to a monthly online health, wellness and academic success magazine for all students. Check out the following Student Health 101 articles on H1N1:

Further Information