Diagnosed but doing fineSpeaking quite candidly about white surgical masks and being temporarily advised to leave her university, a Dickinson native is recovering from her bout with H1N1, also known as the swine flu.
By: Lisa Call, The Dickinson Press
Speaking quite candidly about white surgical masks and being temporarily advised to leave her university, a Dickinson native is recovering from her bout with H1N1, also known as the swine flu.
Megan Zander, a special education major at Minnesota State University in Moorhead, Minn., said after her diagnosis, she was not allowed back in classes until she was fever-free for 24 consecutive hours.
She also had a new wardrobe accessory.
“I had to wear a mask out in public,” Zander said. “I was walking around campus wearing a mask. People would always ask me what was wrong with me, why I’m wearing a mask, and I’m like, ‘Yeah, I’m just coming back to the dorms to get my stuff and leave,’” Zander said, giggling.
When Zander told the inquirers why she donned the white mask, most uttered a quick, “Oh, OK.”
Zander resumed classes last week.
A terrible cough, headache, shortness of breath, weakness and persistent fatigue prompted Zander to make a trip to the city’s walk-in clinic.
Zander said she may have passed it to her roommate, who developed a similar cough a few days later.
“My roommate and I went to the doctor together and we were joking about it (swine flu),” Zander said.
After some testing, including a Q-tip in the nose, Zander found out she had swine flu.
Zander said the university asked her to leave her classes so she would not infect others.
“I was actually kicked out of school until I was fever free for 24 hours, so I had to come all the way back to Dickinson,” Zander said.
Zander said she feels much better, but still has a cough.
“I was on TAMIFLU twice a day for five days,” she said. “Ever since I came back (to MSUM) last week, people are getting swine left and right.”
The university does not know how many students have been infected with H1N1, but has been averaging 10 to 12 calls and appointments a day regarding swine flu, said Carol Grimm, director of Hendrix Health Center on MSUM’s campus.
The university follows recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that suggest infected students “self-isolate” and do not return to activities or classes until he or she is fever-free for 24 consecutive hours without the assistance of medications or other methods, Grimm said.
“It’s all about social distancing when you are sick,” Grimm said.
The CDC’s recommendations to colleges and universities are just recommendations, not law, and it is up to each university how they are adopted, said Candice Burns, press assistant for the CDC.
Grimm said some professors require students to present a doctor’s note prior to re-entering class, adding that the university cannot ban a student from the school for having swine flu nor police if he or she has been in class.
To try and combat the issue, MSUM deployed 200 “sanitation stations” equipped with hand sanitizer, Grimm said.
The university has also reverted back to paper towels instead of automatic dryers, as the paper towels transmit less disease, especially when opening doors, Grimm said.
Dickinson State University reported its first swine flu case on Sept. 22 and since then, no new cases have been reported, said Constance Walter, director of university relations.
Walter said she cannot confirm if the infected student attended classes after being diagnosed.
“We make a recommendation, we expect them to follow their doctor’s orders that they should stay home and stay away from other people,” Walter said.
DSU is also taking preventative measures.
“We’ve got tubs of sanitizer wipes placed in different areas,” Walter said.
The CDC has advised the North Dakota Department of Health the first doses of the new H1N1 vaccine will start arriving in the state next week.
The state will receive an initial supply of 4,000 doses in the form of a nasal spray called FluMist, according to a NDDH press release.