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Information, prevention key to fight against H1N1 flu
Debbie Epping
Antelope Staff

No one knows or can predict with certainty how the H1N1 flu will affect college campus such as UNK. However, campus health officials are focused on information and prevention instead of fear tactics.

“The H1N1 is what we call a novel virus—it’s brand new at this time,” said Cindy Shultz, RN and Associate Director at UNK Health Care.

The problem with a new virus is no one in the population under 65 has ever been exposed, so it can affect people a lot differently. Otherwise the cases of swine flu have shown very similar symptoms to the seasonal flu so far.

“The most common factor is a high fever of at least 100.4, but typically we’ll see fevers of 102 and 103 associated with one of a variety symptoms—sore throat, cough or runny nose—cold symptoms,” Shultz said.

A vaccination for the H1N1 virus is still going through trials and will likely be available in the fall. Until then the most powerful defense is prevention tactics.

“I am a total prevention fanatic. That’s the best thing we can do,” Shultz said.

Although the previous wave of H1N1 that came through in the spring had cases similar to those of the seasonal flu, it’s not certain what it’s going to look like when it comes back again this fall.

“Viruses do tend to change and mutate, but we’re hoping that it does not come back anymore virulent or more severe,” Shultz said.

The important thing is to stay informed. Shultz writes an informative blog on the UNK web site where students can keep up-to-date on information.

“We want people to be educated. We don’t want them to necessarily be afraid,” Shultz said.


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