What Communicable Diseases are Affecting the University of Lethbridge?
The Health Centre aims to keep our community educated on a variety of topics. Education of current outbreaks is important to assist in preventing further spread of the health concerns.
Here are the current communicable disease/illness notifications:
Mumps present in South Zone, precautions urged to help stem spread
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2017
Recently, a mumps outbreak was declared in the South Zone of Alberta by Alberta Health Services (AHS). All confirmed cases, to date, have had exposure during a specific sporting event.
Mumps is a contagious viral infection that can cause swelling and pain in the jaw (one or both cheeks may look swollen). Some people with mumps won't have gland swelling. They may feel like they have a bad cold or the flu instead.
Mumps usually goes away on its own in about 10 days. But in some cases, it can cause complications that affect the brain (meningitis), the testicles (orchitis), the ovaries (oophoritis), or the pancreas (pancreatitis).
Mumps is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes near you or shares food or drinks.
You can spread the virus 7 days before and for 9 days after symptoms start. You are most likely to spread the virus 1 to 2 days before and 5 days after symptoms start.
The mumps vaccine protects against the illness. This vaccine is part of the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) and MMRV (measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella [chickenpox]) vaccines. Most children get the vaccine as part of their regular shots. Before the mumps vaccine existed, mumps was a common childhood disease in Canada and the United States.
AHS recommends that anyone with symptoms of pain on chewing or swallowing and/or swelling of the cheek or jaw should see a doctor for assessment and consideration of testing. Further, AHS recommends that anyone with symptoms as above should not go to class or play sports for 5 days from the start of swelling. If you are experiencing mumps symptoms, call your family physician clinic or the U of L Health Centre (403-329-2484) and inform them of your symptoms when booking an appointment.
To prevent further spread of mumps virus, please:
a. Practice good hand hygiene – wash hands often with soap and water, or use alcohol hand rub.
b. Avoid sharing items that could be contaminated with saliva such as water bottles, towels, drinking glasses, utensils, etc.
c. Do not spit near others
d. Clean and disinfect high touch/potentially contaminated surfaces.
e. Cover coughs or sneezes with a tissue or a forearm.
More information about mumps can be found online at https://myhealth.alberta.ca/health/pages/conditions.aspx?Hwid=hw180629.
Gastrointestinal Illness in the South Zone
Alberta Health Services has issued the following statement announcing an increase in gastrointestinal illness in Southern Alberta:
"There has been increased gastrointestinal illness reported in communities and schools across Southern Alberta, with symptoms of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The germs that cause these symptoms tend to circulate in communities during the colder parts of the year. Most people recover from the illness on their own, but to prevent the spread of infection, parents, guardians and staff within school settings are recommended to carry out the following precautions:
1. Individuals who are ill with vomiting or diarrhea should not attend school [or work] until 48 hours after the symptoms have disappeared, because the germs that cause the illness can be easily spread from one person to another.
2. Ensure that [you] and others in your household wash their hands frequently, to prevent spread of illness in your home.
3. Ensure that high touch surfaces like door handles, bathrooms, faucets, light switches, etc. are cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis in your home.
If someone you know becomes ill with vomiting or diarrhea for more than 72 hours, or if they are medically unstable, please see your physician or call HealthLink at 811."
Influenza as well as other cold and flu viruses are circulating. Remember these tips for staying well during the peak cold and flu season;
- Get Immunized – If you haven’t already had a dose of this seasons influenza (flu) vaccine visit your local pharmacy, physician’s office or public health. Flu shots are free of charge for anyone living, working or going to school in Alberta!
- Wash your Hands – Plain soap and water or alcohol based hand rubs will all work. This can be one of the most important steps in stopping the spread of illness and to prevent from getting ill!
- Stay Rested – Avoid becoming run down so your body is more able to fight off any illness you may be exposed to.
- Eat and Drink Nutritiously – Proper nutrition helps to fuel the body to keep it strong!
If you become ill;
- Cover your Cough or Sneeze – Make sure to shield the spread of bacteria and viruses by sneezing or coughing into a tissue, your arm or elbow crease!
- Stay Home – If you are feeling unwell stay home and rest! This is an important step to getting better as well as to prevent sharing your illness with others.
- Drink Plenty of Fluids – Prevent dehydration, especially if you have a fever.
- Use over the counter medications cautiously – Make sure to check with a pharmacist that the medications you are choosing are okay to take together. Avoid doubling up or potentially overdosing on a medication as different types of over the counter medications may contain the same drug. E.g. some cough medication already contains Tylenol (acetaminophen) so you won’t need to take any additional Tylenol with it!
- When to see a Doctor;
- If your fever is not control by over the counter medications such as Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Advil (ibuprofen).
- If your fever last more than a week.
- If your sore throat lasts more than a week.
- Call Health Link at 811 to speak to a nurse if you have any questions or concerns.
The Health Centre has physician appointments available should you need to see a doctor. To schedule an appointment call 403-329-2484 ext. 1.