Villanova Students, Faculty and Staff:
You have most likely heard of the recent H1N1 (swine flu) virus outbreak in Mexico, with a number of cases being reported in the United States and worldwide. We want to provide you with information about the H1N1 virus, including the signs and symptoms as well as possible ways to protect yourself from getting sick. The Student Health Center is continuing to monitor the situation and should it escalate dramatically, we will send an update with further information. Should the situation become serious, Villanova University does have an emergency plan in place. For additional information, you can check the CDC (Center for Disease Control) web site, or call the 800 number listed at the bottom of this email. In addition, students may call the Student Health Center at 610-519-4070, and employees are encouraged to call their family physician.
Questions & Answers
What is H1N1 (swine) flu?
H1N1 Influenza is a respiratory disease that originates in pigs, but can be transferred to humans. The H1N1 flu virus can spread from person to person also.
What are the signs and symptoms of H1N1 flu in people?
The symptoms of H1N1 flu in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with swine flu. Like seasonal flu, swine flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.
How do you catch H1N1 flu?
Spread of H1N1 flu can occur in two ways:
- Through contact with a person with H1N1 flu. Human-to-human spread of H1N1 flu has been documented and is thought to occur in the same way as seasonal flu. Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.
- Through contact with infected pigs or environments contaminated with swine flu viruses.
- Is this H1N1 flu virus contagious? CDC has determined that this virus is contagious and is spreading from human to human. However, at this time, it is not known how easily the virus spreads between people.
How long can an infected person spread H1N1 flu to others?
People with H1N1 influenza virus infection should be considered potentially contagious as long as they are symptomatic and possibly for up to 7 days following illness onset.
What can I do to protect myself from getting sick?
There is no vaccine available right now to protect against swine flu. There are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza.
Take these everyday steps to protect your health:
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- If you get sick with influenza, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
What should I do if I get sick?
For students, visit or contact the Student Health Center.
For employees, you should stay home from work and contact your family physician.
For students, you should limit your contact with other students and come to the Student Health Center for evaluation, diagnosis, and medical care. If you become ill and experience any of the following warning signs, seek emergency medical care.
In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- Sudden dizziness
- Severe or persistent vomiting
Can I get H1N1influenza from eating or preparing pork?
No. H1N1 influenza viruses are not spread by food. You cannot get H1N1 influenza from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork products is safe.