The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are urging young people to get vaccinated before they take off on their spring break vacations this month. From March 8 until March 22, college students across the country will get time off to make trips to sunny beaches and other destinations.
In addition to packing sunscreen, young people should remember to immunize themselves against the H1N1 virus before they leave.
The CDC offers the following tips:
- Talk to your healthcare provider not only about 2009 H1N1, but also about other recommended, routine vaccinations you may need if traveling, especially overseas.
- Visit the CDC’s Travelers’ Health Web site for more information and healthy travel recommendations to prevent influenza and other illnesses during travel. You can also find special information about spring break travel.
- Stay away from people who appear sick or are coughing or sneezing. The main way the flu spreads is through the droplets of coughs and sneezes.
- Practice good hygiene by washing your hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing and sneezing. If soap and water is not available, alcohol-based hand rubs are useful.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue.
- Wash your hands often.
- Don’t share drinking glasses or utensils – avoid drinking beverages mixed in a common container or eating after others.
- Stay home (or away from others) if you are sick for 24 hours after your fever is gone to prevent others from getting sick too.
Young adults 19 through 24 years of age were among the high priority groups targeted to receive the H1N1 vaccine. This group had a high rate of infection from the virus, possibly due to working, living, and studying in close proximity to their peers.
As recently as last month, the American College Health Association (ACHA) was reporting an uptick in H1N1 cases—with a sudden increase of 52 percent at college campuses.
Rates of new infections were highest on campuses in Oklahoma, Missouri, Indiana, North Carolina, and Mississippi. In Missouri, the swine flu attack rate was up 17-fold over the previous week.