Tag Archives: outbreak

Lots of people saying the “F” word around here lately…….FLU :(

woman holding tissue up to her nose

Flu is here!

We are seeing an increase of flu cases here at Student Health. Here is some important information about flu and what to do if you (or someone close to you) gets sick.

Signs of the flu: sudden onset of fever, body aches, fatigue, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache. Rarely it can cause diarrhea or vomiting, but influenza and the “stomach flu” are NOT the same thing. Flu makes you feel horrible, fast. Like hit by a truck horrible.

What to do if you are sick: stay away from others until you have been fever-free for 24 hrs without having to take fever reducing medication. Take ibuprofen/tylenol for aches and fever, drink a lot of fluids, rest, and cover your sneezes and coughs with a tissue that you throw away. WASH YOUR HANDS. Are you high risk for flu complications?  Read this and if applies, call us at (252) 328-6841.

  • Do you need a friend to pick up food for you at the dining hall?  You can fill out this form and let your buddy grab you something to eat.
  • Do you need to let your professors know you are sick?  Log onto Pirate Port and use the “Flu Self Reporting Form”.  Be advised:  this is NOT an excuse.  But, it lets your professors know you are ill and they may work with you on missed work.

What to do if your roommate or someone you love is sickhttp://www.flu.gov/symptoms-treatment/caring-for-someone/index.html

If you aren’t sick, here are a few things to do to try to avoid the flu:

  • get a flu shot–although the best time to get vaccinated is early fall, it is not too late. Student Health has plenty of vaccine available or visit one of your local retail pharmacies, urgent care centers, or your primary medical provider’s office.
  • Avoid sick people–if your friend says they don’t feel well, maybe you should cancel that study session or lunch date.
  • Don’t eat, drink, or smoke after others.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth–we don’t realize how much we introduce germs into our system just by our habits.
  • Wash your hands way more than you think is necessary. Also, alcohol based sanitizers do work against flu, so get you a bottle to keep in your bag.
  • Surfaces are gross–doorknobs, chair rails, keyboards, money, pens, phones, etc all can harbor flu virus particles. Remember to clean your hands often especially after touching items others have used.

A few FAQ:

  • Does SHS test for flu?
    Yes, we can.  It is done by swabbing nasal secretions. But, in many cases, it is not helpful since the treatment for flu is based on symptoms, not test results, so your treatment is the same whether the test is performed or not if the provider suspects flu.
  • Should I see a doctor?
    In most cases, if you are healthy and have no underlying major medical issues like asthma, pregnancy, diabetes, HIV, heart conditions, cancer, etc, you do not need to see a health care provider since flu typically resolves on its own.  However, if you have severe symptoms or feel that you are not improving, you need to call your doctor or if you have an emergency, call 911.
  • Can SHS give me a note to miss class?
    No. SHS can not give class excuses.
  • If I have flu, do I need Tamiflu (antiviral medication)?
    Again, probably not.  Learn more here.  If you have a severe case, or are at high risk for complications, then your doctor will probably prescribe an anti-viral; however, low risk otherwise healthy people do not need prescription medication for flu.

Still have more flu related questions?  Email us at fluquestions@ecu.edu

Also, don’t forget: anytime we are not open, you always have the 24hr nurseline available to you for medical advice.  Call our main number, (252) 328-6841, and listen to the instructions for speaking with a nurse.

Student Health continually monitors the flu situation.  Look to www.ecu.edu/studenthealth for updates and please follow us on Twitter (@ECU_SHS) and Facebook (ECU Student Health Services) for the most up to date information for campus.

Source:

CDC                       http://www.cdc.gov/flu/

Chikungunya…..funny name, not so funny virus….

keepcalminsectrepellentHearing about chikungunya virus yet?  Well, you probably will soon–a case has been confirmed in Pitt County.  The virus is mosquito borne, and causes aches, joint pain, fever and rash.  There is no treatment but you can take over the counter pain medications to help symptoms.  Most people feel better in a few days, but for some, the joint pain persists longer.  Want more information?  Visit http://www.cdc.gov/chikungunya/

 

EBOLA! (The facts, not the hype)

ebola_suitEbolaebola1

Everywhere you look, Ebola is on the news. Scary images of dying, bleeding West Africans are overplayed alongside scenes of medical personnel in space suit-looking isolation gear.  Movies like “Outbreak”, “28 Days Later”, and “Contagion” heighten our fears of a rapid, global hemorrhagic disease. We have brought back several Americans who are infected to be treated in Atlanta and Nebraska hospitals and we have had several health care workers  infected.  Does that mean we should all be worried? Is this something that will spread across the U.S.?

First of all, don’t panic. The media has helped increase fear by making Ebola the lead story every night.  Yes, it is a serious disease that causes vomiting, fever, bleeding, and often, death. However, there is a lot about Ebola though that is left out of the sensational news stories. As a public consumer of information, knowing the facts often makes a frightening issue a lot less terrifying.

Here is what you need to know….

Ebola IS:

  • a virus
  • spread through contact with the body fluids (blood, secretions, semen) of someone that is ill with or has died from Ebola,  or from an animal infected with Ebola (chimps, gorillas, fruit bats, monkeys, forest antelopes, porcupines)
  • almost exclusively limited to West Africa at this time, primarily Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia.  Nigeria was recently declared “Ebola free”.   Several cases have occurred in US health care workers but there is no widespread risk or outbreak outside of West Africa.
  • very serious, particularly to people with severe nutritional deficits, lack of access to clean water, and those without medical care
  • able to be spread after death, so often the virus is transmitted during burial rituals in local African tribal communities

Ebola IS NOT:

  • a new disease (it was first identified in 1976); multiple outbreaks have occurred in Africa over the years
  • spread through air, water, or contaminated food
  • able to be prevented by vaccination nor is there a cure; infected persons are given supportive treatment with IV fluids, oxygen therapy, and other interventions
  • being readily transmitted in the U.S.. Several health care workers have been diagnosed, but we have also successfully cared for other Ebola patients in this country without incident.  So far, the US health care workers have all responded well to treatment.
  • a risk to the general American public
  • something you can catch from being in an airplane, attending class, or living in a residence hall with someone who may have traveled to an affected area

Infectious disease experts are continually monitoring the latest information and feel very confident that a large scale outbreak that affects the United States is highly unlikely.  Ebola is not easy to get, and with our sophisticated medical care and ability to identify and isolate cases, our public health system is prepping to respond and contain to prevent any further spread.  We have already seen several hospitals receive patients successfully, and many others are performing drills, practicing policy and preparing general readiness plans.

The entire UNC campus system is in constant communication with infectious disease experts from NC Public Health and CDC.  All campuses are sharing information and are getting prepared should any further action be needed.  ECU is having regular meetings with a team of campus staff members that would be involved in any major health issue.  This team reviews the latest information and will keep the university community informed with any updates of interest or any news that impacts our campus.  Visit the special Ebola information page of ECU Alert:  http://www.ecu.edu/cs-ecu/alert/University-Response-to-Concerns-of-Ebola-Outbreak.cfm

Want to read more?  Use reputable health care sites and news agencies that report facts, not those that try to drum up viewers with scary sensational stories.  Here are a few articles and sites we like:
Ebola 101: The Facts Behind a Frightening Virus
CDC Ebola Info
WHO Ebola Virus Disease

Have you traveled to an affected area or know someone who has?  Read this: Information from the NC Department of Health and Human Services

Still have questions?  Concerns?  Students can contact us at ECU Student Health Services, (252) 328-6841 or by emailing us at gotquestions@ecu.edu.  Faculty/staff should contact the Office of Prospective Health, (252) 744-2070.