The novel H1N1 influenza virus was the dominant virus during the 2009 flu season in the southern hemisphere, and is expected to be widespread in the U.S this fall. This novel H1N1 virus has disproportionately affected children and young adults (age 5-24 yrs). Fortunately the infections are no more severe than the seasonal flu, and most healthy individuals have recovered with no complications.
During the flu season, the majority of respiratory illnesses are caused by organisms other than the flu (rhinoviruses, coronaviruses, parainfluenza, etc.). While the common cold and influenza share many clinical features, acute cold symptoms typically appear gradually over 1-2 days, whereas influenza symptoms (high fever, severe muscle aches, dry cough, severe headache) are typically more severe and abrupt in onset, often developing within hours. Fever [>100° F] can be a distinguishing feature of influenza, as well as an indicator for determining when to seek medical attention for complications of a respiratory infection. If you do not own a thermometer, it is recommended that you obtain one to monitor your illness. The majority of otherwise healthy individuals infected with influenza or the common cold can be managed at home with symptomatic treatment.
To avoid spreading infection to patients and colleagues, it expected that all MUSC students will:
Take personal responsibility to stay home if they are experiencing acute flu-like symptoms.
Exercise proper hygiene (Cough Etiquette and Handwashing).
Ensure that ill colleagues comply with these same common courtesies.