Seasonal Influenza

A Message from
Dr. Shawn E. Brooks,
Vice President for Student Affairs

 

Happy New Year!

Along with the excitement and energy that a new year brings, 2015 also brings the potential challenges of flu season.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are currently reporting that 2014-15 flu season is especially serious, with 43 states reporting high or widespread flu activity.  Our region, especially Cambria County, has been hit particularly hard.  While the flu vaccine is typically one way to minimize the spread of virus, a new strain, H3N2, mutated and emerged after the vaccine had been developed. Therefore,  it is only 33% effective in preventing the spread of flu this season. 

The CDC has recommended measures that will help to avoid and control the spread of seasonal influenza:

  • Get a flu shot (while is not 100% effective in preventing the flu, it is still beneficial).
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers when soap and water are not available. Remember that hand sanitizer stations are installed in buildings throughout campus. 
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or use the bend of your elbow when you cough or sneeze.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose or eyes. 

The CDC has also advised that symptoms of seasonal influenza may include fever, chills, body aches, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.   It is recommended that:

  • Students who are experiencing flu-like symptoms should report to their physician or Pitt-Johnstown Health Services.  Faculty and staff who exhibit symptoms should contact their health care provider. 
  • Persons who are at high risk of complications from influenza infection (for example, anyone with certain chronic medical conditions or women who are pregnant) should consult their health care provider.

By working together, we can effectively and efficiently manage the challenges presented by this new flu strain.