Nobody wants to get the flu. So while a particularly widespread flu season is upon us this year, Johns Hopkins is asking everyone in our community to help keep it from spreading.
In a message Thursday, Provost Sunil Kumar and Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration Daniel Ennis asked students, faculty, and staff who have illness accompanied by fever to stay away from such places as classes, labs, dining halls, and offices where they could spread the virus to others. To limit contagion, it is recommended that a person suffering from flu should have a normal temperature for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medications) before resuming a regular schedule.
Kumar and Ennis also noted that in many cases it's appropriate for a student or staff member to decide on their own to stay away from activities. The university is asking faculty to be flexible in allowing students to make these decisions without necessarily visiting a medical practitioner for documentation of their illness. Staff can notify their managers and follow the procedures outlined in the HR manual.
To help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:
- Get a flu vaccination, even if you are not required to do so
- Clean your hands frequently with soap and water (washing for a full minute) or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Hand washing is crucial, particularly before eating or any activity that involves touching one's face
- Cough into your sleeve (the crook of your elbow) or a tissue, not into your hands
- Stay home if you have a fever
Flu typically runs its course in three to seven days, but if symptoms worsen or persist beyond that time—especially fever—or if you have symptoms of a bacterial infection, such as nasal drainage that changes from clear to colored after five to seven days or shortness of breath, it is recommended that you seek medical treatment. People at higher risk of flu complications due to other medical conditions, such as pregnancy, asthma or COPD, or chemotherapy, should seek medical treatment right away.
You may also want to check out these answers to common questions about colds and flu in the Johns Hopkins Health Review.