The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Student Wellness gets St. John’s prepared for Swine Flu

College campuses across the country are preparing themselves not only for the start of a new school year, but for a potential H1N1 outbreak this fall.

The outbreak of the H1N1 virus, also known as the swine flu, caused a panic across the country, and St. John’s is just one of the universities preparing themselves for its comeback.

Executive Director of Student Wellness, Kathryn Hutchinson, said the University has already taken measures to help inform students of the virus.

St. John’s has included a H1N1 News and Update section to the University Web site, a resource for students to keep up to date with the latest news and measures being taken to respond to this virus.

Hutchinson said the University has been working on H1N1 preparations since April.
Hutchinson urges students to keep themselves informed.

“The web site created by St. John’s to keep students informed will include updates as well as podcasts featuring peer educators and student leaders,” she said.

In a preparation letter issued by Dr. Hutchinson, the most important thing students can do to prevent the spread of the virus is to wash their hands frequently with soap and water, and to carry sanitizer with them. She also said that it is imperative that students do not share toiletries, drinking glasses or any other personal items with others.

“If you are a resident student, bring basic self-care supplies including a thermometer, lots of hand soap, cleaning supplies to wipe down desks, sinks, computer keyboards etc.,” reports Student Wellness.

“In addition, carry your health insurance card and know how to use it in the event you need medical attention.”

St. John’s will be distributing a Wellness Packet, something that they did successfully in the spring. The packet contains important health information, helpful tips and hand sanitizer. Also distributed alongside this packet is a “Kit to Self-Isolate.”

“The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that if at risk, you go home if you can, these self isolate kits are meant to help students to this. Included is a mask, gloves, and disposable thermometers,” says Dr. Hutchinson.

The CDC has released their own guidelines for universities this school year.
If the flu becomes more severe than the virus that spread during the spring and summer, the CDC urges school officials to consider asking students, faculty and staff to stay home, and to consider postponing classes.

Hutchinson echoes the statements released by the CDC.

“The most important thing that students need to know is if sick, please stay home,” she said.”Don’t try to be a hero and go to class and potentially infect others. It’s important to communicate with the University. Communicate with your professors, they’re aware of the growing situation and prepared to help.”

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