Heed the H1N1 warnings and stay healthy

Influenza A H1N1 is no joke and it's time to be vigilant about protecting yourself from this potentially deadly virus.

It has been several months since the world was alerted to the possible H1N1 pandemic and over time, many people have become desensitized to the seriousness of this illness. Constant media attention, coupled with the onset of summer and a natural decline in flu cases, has given people a false sense of security and many now shut off when they hear new warnings of what may become of this virus as fall approaches.

Now is not the time to let down your guard. Flu season is fast approaching and indications from the World Health Organization are that H1N1 will not only come back, but will reappear much stronger than it was previously.

It is important we here at the University of Lethbridge heed these warnings and do all we can to limit our exposure to the H1N1 virus and should we become ill, follow the proper procedures to treat the virus and limit its spread.

"It is easy to become complacent over the summer months," RN/Manager, University of Lethbridge Health Centre, Lori Weber, says. "There has been a lot of media attention and multiple warnings about a possible H1N1 pandemic but because we haven't really seen evidence of it here in southern Alberta, people tend to shrug it off. We can't afford to have that attitude."

As the fall semester begins, so does the onset of flu season and H1N1 is poised to make a comeback.

"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 check the website ( for information or 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:;;;