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UMBC Wellness in the Workplace

Wellness News : January 2013

Preventative Measures for Protecting Your Health During Flu Season

With the early arrival of flu season across the country and in Maryland, UMBC University Health Services (UHS) is urging faculty and staff to take preventive measures to protect their health and the health of our colleagues. Cases of influenza are expected to increase throughout the flu season. Because flu can spread by contact with people who are ill, UMBC Health Services staff recommend that staff and faculty take these precautions:

Get a flu shot. A limited number of flu shots are available at University Health Services. UHS is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 - 5:00. Students, staff and faculty may walk in or make an appointment by calling 410-455-2542. UHS accepts most major health insurance plans. Patients should bring their UMBC IDs and Health Insurance information to University Health Services. Flu shots also are available at local pharmacies, clinics and physician’s offices.

Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer frequently, especially after touching common surfaces such as door handles. Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing with either a disposable tissue or a sleeve, and avoid touching your face. Avoid contact with people who are sick. Get plenty of rest to keep the immune system working at its best.

Monitor your health. Flu symptoms include fever with cough or sore throat, and sometimes runny nose, body aches, headache, vomiting or diarrhea.

What to do if sick with the flu:

Persons with flu symptoms should stay home. Ill individuals should limit contact with others who are not sick. Those with flu-like symptoms should not return to class or work until they no longer have a fever (a temperature of less than 100.5 F) for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications.

Staff and faculty with the flu should utilize normal departmental call-out procedures to report their illness. Appropriate medical documentation may be required for absences involving multiple days. For additional clarification regarding absences from work, faculty and staff should contact the Human Resources Department.

Individuals should seek medical attention if they have acute symptoms such as body aches, cough or a fever of more than 100.5. If a faculty or staff member comes to UHS for medical care, they must bring their health insurance cards with them; otherwise, they will be charged full price for their visit. They should talk with a doctor about appropriate medicine to treat flu or flu-like symptoms.

If an individual gets worse after being on the medication for three or four days, they should come back to University Health Services or their primary care provider to have their lungs rechecked to make sure they have not developed a secondary infection. Those with chronic health conditions, such as asthma, or complications should call their health care provider or University Health Services at410-455-2542.

Our goal is for our community to have a productive and healthy work environment. There are many resources on campus available to support you. Please don’t hesitate to contact Jennifer K. Lepus, Director of University Health Services, with questions or concerns at 410-455-3751 or jlepus@umbc.edu.

www.umbc.edu/uhs