ASC on guard for flu season

(08-27-2009)

With college back in session and flu season approaching, Adams State College is educating its campus on ways to prevent the spread of illness, particularly the H1N1 (swine flu) virus, according to Dean of Student Affairs Ken Marquez. No cases of the flu have been reported at Adams State, he said.

"We are working closely with the Alamosa County Public Health Department to monitor flu conditions and make decisions about the best steps to take concerning our institution," he added.

The college has undertaken an awareness campaign on preventive measures and is providing students with H1N1 Information Kits that include a small bottle of hand sanitizer, hand wipes, and an information card listing resources. Marquez has written to all students, parents, and employees describing the college's preparations and offering recommendations for preventing and containing spread of the flu.

Those under age 24 are considered at higher risk for both seasonal flu and H1N1, because their immune systems are less developed; college students are also at higher risk due to close, communal living conditions. Latest recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) do not require quarantine of infected people, but do advise those who become ill to stay home to limit spread of disease. Recommendations are that people not return to work or class until 24 hours after their symptoms have gone away. Public health officials expect a vaccine against H1N1 to be available in October, with high risk individuals receiving priority, and remind people that the vaccine requires two doses.

Adams State is updating its community via its website. Information is also available from Alamosa County Public Health, 589-6639; a government website; or by calling 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636).

"As the situation changes, we will keep our campus up-to-date with e-mail notifications, the ASC Alert system, and our website," Marquez said. "We will adapt our prevention strategy as needed to assure the health of our students and staff."

By Julie Waechter