Lessons from H1N1 Pandemic

We were very fortunate that the H1N1 pandemic of last year was not as severe as it could have been. Viral pandemics can occur and the virus mutates to a more severe form that causes even more severe illness or death, OR it can cause less illness over its life course. The lessons learned from the H1N1 pandemic are important.

Now is the time to review some lessons on H1N1.

First, KEEP WASHING YOUR HANDS! Basic protocol around handwashing and protecting others from your sneeze/cough remains important. Keep cleaning items that may contain your (or other people's body fluids/saliva).

Second, consider a yearly flu shot. If you have chronic illness or want some extra protection, consider this protection in October/November each year.

Third, when ill - stay at home - clean well and try not to spread to other people.

Fourth, Be media savvy - Know good sources of information for flu viruses World Health Organization www.who.org or Centre for Disease control www.cdc.org  Limit your exposure to the H1N1 virus and should we become ill, follow the proper procedures to treat the virus and limit its spread.

“We are a very tight community here and at any time, we can have up to 10,000 people on campus,” Weber says. “Those are perfect conditions for the spreading of germs so we have to do all we can to limit our risks.” If you feel you are getting sick, please call the Health Centre at 403-329-2484. It is very important for us to speak with you before your arrival. “If you feel as though you are getting sick, please call us before you come down to the Health Centre,” Weber says. “It is very important we are prepared for your arrival so that we can limit your exposure to other people at the Health Centre.”


Following these basic steps can protect your health.

  1. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If no tissue is available, try to sneeze into clothing or the crook of your elbow.
  2. Throw tissues carefully in the trash. Avoid public spitting of mucous and respiratory secretions.
  3. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. If your hands are not obviously soiled, hand sanitizer is a good second choice to clean hands.
  4. Try to avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth frequently. Your hands may have touched something recently and germs spread quickly in the moist tissues of the face.
  5. Perform extra cleaning of common surfaces at home or at school. Having cleansing wipes or hand sanitizer on hand is a good idea.
  6. Prepare to stay home for a week or so should you become ill.
  7. If you are sick with a flu-like illness, stay at home for at least 48 hours after your fever has subsided (except if you are in need of medical care). Try to protect the people you live with by staying separate from them, wearing a mask or extra cleaning. 
  8. For more information, see the following websites Alberta Health ServicesFight Flu, Public Health Agency of Canada