Date: February 7, 2018
To: Members of the University Community
From: Vivian Fernández
Senior Vice President for Human Resources and Organizational Effectiveness
Re: Important Information Regarding Flu Season -- Tips to Stay Healthy

New Jersey, along with the rest of the country, is experiencing a very active flu season. The NJ Department of Health has been reporting high activity throughout the state since early January and recent data confirm the number of new cases are at a historic peak.

Dr. Brian Strom, Chancellor, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, and Executive Vice President for Health Affairs at Rutgers, strongly encourages employees who have not received a flu shot to do so still. To get vaccinated, employees may contact their health care provider, the Rutgers Office of Occupational Health, or visit the NJ Department of Health website, http://www.nj.gov/health/cd/topics/flu.shtml.

There are many reports that this year’s flu vaccine is less effective than in prior years. However, it is still the best way to help people suffer milder symptoms, get over the virus faster, and curtail the spread of the virus. In any year, even after vaccination, you can get the flu. Getting the flu shot is about reducing your risk, not eliminating it.  

Other important steps you can take to avoid the flu and prevent its spread include: 

  • Covering coughs and sneezes
  • Washing hands often
  • Cleaning commonly touched objects and surfaces regularly

For people who may have flu exposure, even those with vaccinations, please be on the lookout for the following symptoms.

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults)

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms following possible exposure to the flu virus, please call your primary care provider’s office as soon as possible. They can identify the best treatment options, which may include anti-viral medications, and can provide advice on ways to recover quicker as well as ways to avoid spreading the virus.

Stay Home

Most importantly, please be considerate of your friends, neighbors, and co-workers. If you have flu symptoms, stay home to help prevent further spread.

If you develop flu-like symptoms while at work, please advise your supervisor and leave work.  Employees with a flu diagnosis, or who are experiencing symptoms, should not to return to work until symptoms are gone or until obtaining medical clearance to return.

Rutgers appreciates the dedication of employees who desire to soldier through flu symptoms and keep working. However, the presence of employees with the flu or those experiencing symptoms raises the risk of infecting colleagues and other employees. This often leads to more employees being ill and having to remain at home.

If you have questions about flu-related absences, please contact the Office of Labor Relations at 848-932-3914 or the Office of Academic Labor Relations at 848-932-7174

Thank you in advance for your understanding and cooperation.