WHAT IS IT? WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT IT?
We are all watching the news and aware that the H1N1 virus, commonly called the Swine Flu, is already beginning to spread again in this region and in this country. This is a virus with respiratory symptoms very similar to the regular influenza. It includes fever, coughing, respiratory congestion, muscle aches and soreness.
What should we be doing in our offices at Quigley, Meyer and outside agencies? We have a few recommendations now and more extensive planning will be reported on in the near future.
Get your regular flu shots ASAP. This shot is available at Quigley on October 1 and Meyer on October 2. These immunizations are also available at many locations now, such as Walgreens, CVS, Dominick’s, etc. Getting a regular flu shot may help with H1N1 symptoms, should you contract this illness. It will definitely assist the diagnostic process if you become ill with flu like symptoms and you previously received the regular flu vaccine.
The H1N1 won't be available until the middle of October. We do not have word on how the distribution of that vaccine will take place but it is likely that this vaccine will be given to those with a higher risk of contracting the disease, such as children and pregnant women. The H1N1 vaccine will require 2 immunizations and will probably be given at designated distribution sites rather than at Quigley or Meyer.
The number one preventative is hand washing. Soap and water is the first choice, hand sanitizers are the second choice.
One of the critical issues is getting people to stay home when they are ill. Anyone with a temperature of 100 degrees or more should NOT be at work and should not return to work until they are less than 100 degrees without the aid of medication. Some are recommending staying home at least 3 days after the fever breaks. Supervisors should feel very free to send people home who are exhibiting symptoms. This is a change in culture or work ethic for many us who think that it is admirable to come to work even when we are sick The normal course of H1N1 is 3-5 days, but of course it could be more severe. Hospitals are asking that we do not go to emergency rooms when H1N1 is suspected.
Recommendations from the Archdiocese of Chicago
Personnel Services Department
Carol Fowler, Director
September 2, 2009