From: Leslie Lawrence, M.D.
Medical Director, Student Health Center,
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
We have received another smaller supply of H1N1 vaccinations. We will hold an H1N1 vaccination clinic TOMORROW, Dec. 15 in the Student Union from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or as long as our vaccine supply will last. This clinic will be open to all Rensselaer students, faculty, and staff.
As of Monday, Dec. 14, we have experienced 238 cases of influenza among students on the Troy campus. Of those, none are currently in isolation rooms and one is recuperating at home with family. Presently, 237 students are fully recovered. In addition, we continue to receive reports of small numbers of faculty and staff with influenza-like illnesses.
Vaccination is your best protection from getting the H1N1 virus. Last week fatality numbers released by the CDC reminded all that we are still dealing with a potentially deadly virus. Despite an overall national decrease in the number of flu infections, the number of fatalities from the virus has risen markedly in recent weeks. The vast majority of these deaths have occurred in younger adults and children. While the death rate remains lower than a typical seasonal flu outbreak, these younger population groups remain at higher risk of complications and death than with a typical seasonal flu. Please consider vaccination, particularly if you fall into any of the higher risk categories for complications based on your age or current medical condition.
We will maintain regular office hours in the Student Health Center throughout the break with the exception of December 24 and 25 when the office will be closed.
Please use the hand washing and other flu-prevention precautions we have discussed all through the academic year during the semester break and enjoy a well-deserved break with your family and friends.
As always, our best protections against the flu include:
- Vaccination with the 2009 H1N1 vaccine;
- Washing your hands often, especially after shaking hands with others (hand disinfectants may be used if there is no access to soap and water);
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick;
- Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing;
- Covering your mouth and nose with the inside of your elbow if you do not have a tissue;
- Not touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, especially after contact with others; and
- Keeping a three-foot [one-meter] distance between yourself and anyone who is ill.
A happy and healthy vacation to all.
Leslie Lawrence, M.D.
Medical Director, Student Health Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute