A senior engineering major is Temple’s first diagnosed H1N1 case. Student Health reports 77 have flu symptoms.
Several influenza cases reported to the Center for Disease Control in Pennsylvania can be traced back to Temple. According to the CDC, Pennsylvania is one of 41 states with “widespread influenza activity.”
“My main symptom was an upset stomach,” Kenny Carter, a senior engineering major who experienced flu symptoms before being diagnosed with the swine flu, said. “I felt like I was going to throw up. I also had a bad headache and a high fever with shivering.”
Carter was admitted into the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where he was then tested for different strains of the flu.
“They said the type I had was flu A, which is the swine flu,” Carter said.
Associate Director of Student Health Mark Denys said Student Health Services is following CDC guidelines and only testing students “who are at serious risk of developing complications” for H1N1, the swine flu virus.
“People in that list are those who are chronically ill. Most students don’t fall into those categories,” Denys said.
So far, no high-risk students tested have been positive for the virus.
Student Health Services is, however, tracking the number of suspected cases in the general student population.
“We have seen nothing out of the ordinary,” said Denys. “The number of students with flu-like symptoms is not up appreciably compared to last year.”
As of Oct. 9, Temple asked 77 students with influenza-like symptoms to self-isolate. The CDC recommends sending those with flu-like symptoms to wherever they can limit their contact with others.
Before returning to campus, Denys said students should be fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of medication.
Symptoms for the swine flu are similar to those of the seasonal flu and include fever, sore throat, cough, fatigue, congestion, chills, diarrhea and nausea. The onset of these symptoms, however, does not require an immediate trip to the doctor.
“If you have flu like symptoms that aren’t resolving, such as a high fever not responding to Tylenol or ibuprofen, or if you have flu like conditions and another chronic condition, then you should see a doctor,” Sara Schreiner, a registered nurse at Student Health Services, said.
To avoid contracting the flu, Schreiner said people should keep their hands away from their eyes and face, avoiding crowded areas, avoiding anyone with a cough and hand-washing.
Temple has also submitted a request to receive 40,000 swine flu vaccinations. Whether the request will be met depends on how the local health departments distribute the vaccines they receive from the CDC.
“We will get some, we just don’t know how much,” Denys said.
In the meantime, those wishing to get vaccinated should speak with their regular physicians regarding any available options, he said.
The CDC also recommended being prepared and having a supply of tissues and over-the-counter medicines on hand in case flu symptoms start to appear. If one does contract the flu, the CDC suggests staying home for at least 24 hours, getting plenty of rest and staying hydrated.
Carter advised other students not to stress over the flu.
“I don’t think it’s as bad as what I thought it would be, like from hearing about it,” he said, “and from how everyone thinks it is.”
Grace Dickinson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.