University of Limerick
Influenza A(HIN1)/Swine Flu
Advice for Staff.
This document provides University of Limerick Staff with general guidance in dealing
with Influenza A(H1N1) – Swine Flu. The University has in place a comprehensive
Influenza Pandemic Contingency Plan to respond to this potential threat to the health
of its Students and Staff.
As the situation is constantly evolving, Students and Staff are advised to keep up to
date by regularly accessing the following Websites for information on the Pandemic.
Websites – www.dohc.ie – www.hse.ie. – www.hpsc.ie – www.who.int –
www.ecdc.europa.eu – www.cdc.gov.
What is Influenza A (H1N1)
Influenza A(H1N1) is different from the ordinary or seasonal flu that occurs every
? It has spread rapidly around the world.
? It could be highly infectious.
? It may affect large numbers of people.
? It is likely to cause more severe illness than ordinary flu.
? It may cause more deaths than ordinary flu.
? It may occur in two or more waves several months apart, with each wave
probably lasting weeks or months.
These may be the same as ordinary flu, but they will probably be sudden, and may
be severe. They may include –
? Temperature over 38 º Centigrade/100.4 ºFahrenheit, and some of the following
? Dry Cough.
? Severe weakness and fatigue.
? Aching muscles and joints.
? Sore throat.
? Runny nose.
They may lead to complications some of which may be severe.
Is it Influenza or a Cold ?
Fever unusual High fever usual (> 38º)
Headache unusual Headache usual
Slight aches and pains Aches and Pains
Mild fatigue and weakness Fatigue and weakness (2-3
Exhaustion never extreme Extreme exhaustion (early and
Stuffy nose/sore throat common. Stuffy nose sometimes/sore throat
Sneezing usual Vomiting and Diarrhoea.
Mild to moderate chest discomfort Chest discomfort common (may be
Usually no cough. Hacking Cough
If you suspect that you have Influenza
Call your G.P for advice (do not attend your GP until you have phoned him/her) or
call the free phone National Flu Information Help Line at 1800 94 11 00.
Inform your Manager or Head of Department of your status as soon as possible.
Follow your GPs instructions until you fully recover. Most people with flu will recover
within a few days.
Some people may be at higher risk. This means that potentially there is a serious
health impact to that person’s health, if they contract the illness.
High Risk Groups
These are as follows –
? Pregnant women.
? Persons with a BMI greater than 40.
? Persons with Chronic Respiratory, Heart, Kidney, Liver or Neurological Disease.
? Persons who are immuno-compromised.
? Persons over 65 years of age.
? Children under 5 years of age.
If you are one of these groups, and you suspect that you have Influenza or have
been in close contact with someone you suspect has Influenza, then you should
contact your G.P by telephone immediately.
If you are an adult and you start to feel worse having
taken the basic treatment steps advised by your G.P,
You should again contact your G.P by phone, or the National Flu Information (1800
94 11 00).
Worsening symptoms can include any of the following –
? Shortness of breath at rest, or while doing very little.
? Painful or difficult breathing.
? Coughing up bloody sputum.
? Disorientation and Confusion.
? Fever for 4-5 days, and you are not starting to feel better (or getting worse).
? Starting to feel better, then developing high fever, and feeling unwell again.
There are currently (August 09) no restrictions on National or International travel.
Please note that some Airlines are not allowing travel for anyone who is ill. You
should not travel if you are ill, and you should consider not travelling if you are at
high risk e.g. if you are a close contact. You should consult regularly travel advisory
information at the Department of Foreign Affairs, and the Websites mentioned above.
How do people get infected?
Flu viruses may spread when a person’s hands touch respiratory droplets on another person, or an object, and they then touch their own mouth or nose (or someone
else’s mouth or nose), before washing their hands. The flu virus can survive on
- According to the US- Centre for Disease Control (CDC) – for up to 2-8 hours.
- According to the UK-National Health Service (NHS) – soft surfaces 8-12 hours,
hard surfaces 24-72 hours.
If you have Influenza symptoms
Contact your GP, if Influenza is confirmed by your GP; follow your GPs instructions
If you have come into contact with a person who has
Go about your normal activities.
You can go to work, but you should monitor your symptoms carefully. If at any stage
you develop Influenza like symptoms you should call your G.P for advice. If you are
a member of a high risk group you should also call your G.P for advice.
Should I wear a face Mask?
No, this is not required if you are healthy unless you are involved in caring for
someone who is ill with Influenza.
How can I protect myself from catching Influenza?
? Wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly and frequently. Alcohol based
hand cleaners are also effective, if washing facilities are not available.
? Avoid unnecessary close contact with people who have Influenza or have
symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, fever, or shivering.
? Make sure children and others in your care follow this advice.
Finally, if any staff member in a high risk group is concerned about their status then they should contact their GP or the National Flu Information Helpline 1800 94 11 00
regarding this for further information. You are also strongly encouraged to inform
your head of school/unit about your status.
The University of Limerick will continue to monitor the advice from the HSE regarding high risk groups, and will communicate any significant change to staff. All staff are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the information from the aforementioned