What is swine flu?
Swine flu is a respiratory disease that infects pigs, caused by an influenza virus. It does not normally infect humans, but this occasionally does occur.
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) says the new swine flu virus is contagious and is spreading from person to person. It spreads in the same way as ordinary colds and flu. The virus is spread through the droplets that come out of the nose or mouth when someone coughs or sneezes.
There is a thorough set of frequently asked questions about swine flu linked from the NHS website.
The advice from the NHS is that preventing the spread of germs is the single most effective way to slow the spread of diseases like pandemic flu. You can protect yourself by ensuring everyone washes their hands regularly with soap and water and by cleaning surfaces regularly. You can prevent a virus spreading to others by:
- always carrying tissues
- using tissues to cover your mouth and nose when you cough and sneeze
- binning the tissues as soon as possible
- washing your hands regularly [pdf]
- watch the NHS 'Catch it. Bin it. Kill it' video on YouTube
If you have flu-like symptoms
- Stay at home and contact the National Pandemic Flu Service by calling 0800 1 513 100 or visit https://www.pandemicflu.direct.gov.uk.
- Do not go into your GP surgery, or to a hospital, as you may spread the disease to others
- If you are unsure about your symptoms, use the flu symptom checker.
- If you live in halls of residence, please contact the accommodation staff at the main accommodation office at Loring Hall on 020 7919 7192 (24 hours) to inform us of your symptoms and diagnosis.
- If you experience flu-like
symptoms at home (ie when living away from Goldsmiths), you should contact the
National Pandemic Flu Service and act on their advice. Please do not return to
Goldsmiths until you have consulted with the NHS and they have advised you that
it is safe for you to do so.
- If you fall ill during term-time, in both instances, please advise your academic department as you would for any other illness.
Advice for staff
- If you experience flu-like symptoms when you are at work, you should inform your manager and then go home. You should then contact the National Pandemic Flu Service and act on their advice. Please do not visit your GP surgery in person or the hospital accident and emergency department unless advised to do so because you might spread the illness to others.
- If you experience flu-like symptoms at home, you should report your absence to your line manager, contact the National Pandemic Flu Service and act on their advice. You should not return to work until you have consulted with the NHS and they have advised you to do so. As in other instances, please do not go visit your GP surgery or hospital unless advised to do so.
Travel overseas risk assessment form
If you are a student or member of staff going overseas on Goldsmiths-related business, please complete a travel overseas risk assessment form. The form includes updated sources of advice on specific areas: travel overseas risk assessment form [MSWord file].
Goldsmiths has prepared a document outlining the procedure for a flu pandemic. Download the document [MSWord file].