Pepperdine prides itself on being a close community. Naturally that closeness causes concern as flu season approaches especially for the H1N1 virus epidemic. With confirmed cases of the virus already on campus health officials at Pepperdine are preparing for the onslaught.
As the Center for Disease Control and World Health Organization prepares to take on the “swine flu officials at Pepperdine continue to take on the pandemic. Jennifer Whitlock, a physician’s assistant in the Health Center, explained that Pepperdine has a plan in the event of a school-wide outbreak.
We are trying to be careful and find a balance between keeping everyone up to date and informed while preventing hysteria and misinformation she said.
Despite their efforts, health center officials say the swine flu” has likely hit campus. “Several students who have come in with influenza-like illness symptoms (fever plus cough or sore throat) have tested positive on the rapid influenza test Lucy Larson of the Pepperdine Health Center, wrote in an e-mail; Because we are not currently seeing seasonal influenza they almost surely have H1N1 influenza.” Larson added that some students suffer from similar symptoms but tested negative for this particular strain of the virus.
According to Whitlock Pepperdine has positioned its resources to attend to any situation that might arise this flu season. The team compiled to handle the situation includes the Health Center Housing and Residential Life Risk Management and Human Resources. “They are knowledgeable in the housing treatment and triage of any student who is ill she said.
On Aug. 21, Jay Butler, the Director of the CDC’s H1N1 Vaccine Task Force, informed the public that they are making progress in developing a plan for vaccine distribution once the vaccine becomes available.
He stated that they expect between 45 million and 52 million doses to be available by the middle of October.
He also said the availability would increase to as many as 195 million doses by the end of 2009.
The Health Center also has access to the standard flu shot, and will be distributing it in accordance to the Public Health Department’s recommendations. The Health Center will begin to administer the vaccines in
Some students don’t believe the hype.
I think swine flu is totally blown out of proportion said freshman Jeannie Purcar. Personally I think this whole thing is a way to distract us from the real problems facing us in the political realm.”
Other students trust they are in good hands. “I am personally not worried. I know Pepperdine will take care of any issues that come up said freshman Margaret Raynard. It’s also good that we’re a small school because should an outbreak arise it would be easier to contain she said.
The Student Health Center has also issued a flyer informing students how to stay healthy and prevent the spread of the sniffles this season.
The Pepperdine Student Health Center and the CDC recommend the same steps mothers have been telling children since kindergarten: cover your mouth and nose when you cough, wash your hands, don’t touch your eyes and avoid contact with those who are sick.
One of the most important pieces of advice university health officials provide is to stay at home when you feel under the weather. This will lessen the risk of spreading sickness around.
As classes begin and the usual stress and demand of scholarly endeavors begin to take their toll on the student population and its immune system, Pepperdine officials recommend students stay alert and take care of themselves.