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Health Service letter to the community about the H1N1 flu virus, August 2009

August 24, 2009

Dear Members of the Vassar College Community,

With the H1N1 flu virus still in the news, members of Vassar’s Swine Flu Task Force have been meeting regularly to monitor the international flu situation and to prepare for the resumption of classes at Vassar. We are writing now to update you on what everyone can do to help stay healthy in the upcoming flu season.

The Vassar College Health Service (VCHS) will again offer a vaccine for the regular seasonal influenza during scheduled clinics held at Baldwin House or the Villard room. This fall’s clinic dates and the availability of the seasonal flu vaccine at the VCHS will be well publicized.  Students are encouraged to get the vaccine, as classrooms and dormitories can facilitate the spread of any respiratory illness.

The H1N1 vaccine is now in development and is expected to be ready for the public sometime this fall. Once the approval process is complete, the H1N1 vaccine will be made available in conjunction with the Dutchess County Health Department. This voluntary vaccine will be available at no cost to students. It is important to know that the new H1N1 vaccine is intended for use in addition to the seasonal flu vaccine.

In addition, we want to remind you about simple steps that you can take to stay healthy:

  • Wash your hands regularly, particularly after touching public surfaces.
  • Don’t share food or drink with other people.
  • Drink plenty of clear fluids (water, juice, etc.).
  • Maintain your own supply of over-the-counter medications and fluids so that you’re prepared if you start to feel sick.
  • If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, see the doctor right away to determine whether you have the flu. If you do have the flu, minimize contact with others for 7 days after your symptoms begin or until you’ve been symptom-free for 24 hours, whichever is longer.

Please take the time to review additional information available at the following web addresses:

The Center for Disease Control
http://www.cdc.gov

The U.S. Government H1N1 Information
http://www.flu.gov

The Vassar College Health Service
http://healthservice.vassar.edu/

The staff of the Vassar College Health Services will continue to monitor the flu situation throughout the year, and we’ll keep you posted on relevant developments. In the meantime, thanks for helping us do everything possible to ensure the health of the Vassar College community.

Sincerely,

Irena T. Balawajder M.D.
Director, Vassar College Health Service