University preps for flu

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, August 20, 2009

With the increasing number of H1N1 cases throughout the state and local school systems, Troy University officials are taking steps to keep their campus safe, as well.

“Right now we are seeing what would be considered higher-than-normal instances of flu-like symptoms through our health center, but we want to be sure everyone knows what they can do to protect themselves,” said Herb Reeves, Troy’s dean of student services, whose department oversees the student health center.

Right now, the university has had 14 students test positive for type-A influenza, but those numbers are only students who have gone through the student health center, Reeves said.

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“Only three have tested positive for H1N1,” Reeves said. “But the university is waiting on additional results.

“What we’re trying to do is inform our students, faculty and staff that there are some common-sense steps that they can take to help protect themselves from the flu.”

According to Reeves, students who have the flu and can go home are being asked to do so.

However, Reeves said if a student can’t and are in a room with another student who does not have the flu, the university will take measures to isolate that person.

“Right now, we haven’t had this situation. We have had a situation where two roommates have both been sick,” Reeves said. “Both students were isolated in their room, and we brought them food.”

As a means of getting the word out, the university has already sent out university-wide e-mails informing the university community of personal protective measures and instructions on what to do if the flu is suspected. In addition periodic e-mail updates will be sent, and hand sanitizer dispensers are being installed in locations around each Troy campus in the state.

Some precautions the university is encouraging include, washing hands often, covering coughs and sneezes, getting the flu vaccine, following travel alerts and staying home if sick.

The student services office will complete a public information campaign complete with fliers, pamphlets, residence hall meetings and town hall-style meetings.

University faculty members are reviewing flu protocols in their classes and supervisors are making employees aware of essential information.

“The Alabama Department of Public Health has issued clear advice for people, and we’re helping to get their word out to our students, faculty and staff as we head into flu season,” Reeves said.

Local pharmacies say they have an adequate supply of Tamiflu, the remedy used to treat the flu.

“We have a sufficient amount (of Tamiflu), and we’re able to get it daily,” Synco Drugs Pharmacist Charles Synco said. “We have a lot of people coming in with the flu.”

In Brundidge, Price Pharmacy said it is trying to stock up on Tamiflu, but it cannot distinguish based on prescription how many of the prescriptions are H1N1 or just the seasonal flu.