For several years, Montclair State has had plans in place to address wide-ranging campus safety issues and health concerns. We have extended these preparedness efforts to respond in the upcoming flu season and are working closely with state and local health departments to monitor flu conditions. As a community it is our collective responsibility to participate in prevention strategies against the spread of flu. We encourage everyone to take an active role by implementing the following steps:
- Practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing. Alcohol-based hand cleaners also are effective and have been installed in many areas throughout campus.
- Avoid contact with ill persons and do not share food, drink, or utensils.
- Practice respiratory (cough) etiquette by covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or your arm when you cough or sneeze. Don’t cough into your hands and avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs are spread this way.
- Get vaccinated for seasonal flu. This year, the seasonal flu vaccine will only be available on campus to students. The vaccine will be readily available in the community and faculty/staff can find a clinic in their area by going to http://www.state.nj.us/health/flu/findflushot.shtml.
- Get vaccinated for H1N1 flu. H1N1 flu vaccine will be available to New Jersey residents in a priority distribution manner sometime in late fall. Montclair State students have been identified by the New Jersey Department of Health as a priority population and will be offered the vaccine on campus. Students should watch for e-mail and University Web bulletins for information on campus flu clinics beginning in mid-to-late September. When it becomes available to others, faculty and staff will be sent information on how to obtain the vaccine.
- Know the signs and symptoms of the flu. A fever, cough, and/or sore throat are common indications of the flu. Look for possible signs of a fever: if the person feels very warm, has a flushed appearance, is sweating or shivering, or has a temperature taken with a thermometer that is equal to or greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius. Have a thermometer available to take your temperature. Other symptoms of flu can include runny nose, body aches, headaches, tiredness, diarrhea, or vomiting.
- Stay home if you have flu or flu-like illness. Individuals with the flu should stay home for at least 5 days, or until at least 24 hours after symptoms have gone away. If you are a student, notify your professors by e-mail or phone of your absence for the next 5-7 days. Resident students who live within driving distance of the university will be sent home to recover to reduce potential spread of the flu. Students and their families should have a transportation plan or an alternative, off campus living arrangement in place in the event this occurs. Faculty, staff, and administration suffering from flu should follow the same self-isolation guidelines as students.
- Know the warning signs of complications of the flu. The majority of individuals who contract the flu will not need to seek medical care. However, individuals with chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, heart disease, or diabetes) and pregnant women are at greater risk of complications from the H1N1 flu. Warning signs include difficulty breathing or shortness of breath , pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness, confusion, severe or persistent vomiting, or flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough. Call your health care provider or the University Health Center at 973-655-4361 if you develop any of these symptoms.
If this year’s flu season becomes more severe, it may be necessary to take additional steps to prevent the spread of the virus. We will notify the campus community of any additional changes to our institution’s strategy to prevent the spread of flu by e-mail, web postings, and the text message alert system. We encourage everyone to check their University e-mail account daily for future advisements.
Additional information on the seasonal and H1N1 flu is available on the University Health Center Web site at www.montclair.edu/health/hc. and at www.cdc.gov/flu. The Web site also has information specifically for faculty and staff, and also for students and families.