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Image of the newly identified H1N1 influenza virus taken in the CDC Influenza Laboratory.
Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

AAOS Now

Published 11/1/2009

CME courses brace for H1N1

AAOS takes steps to ensure healthy learning environment during flu season

The H1N1 flu first appeared in the United States last spring, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has alerted the nation for similar outbreaks this flu season. In response to the H1N1 threat, the AAOS has issued a policy outlining the goals, actions, and individuals responsible for maintaining healthy physical course environments and continuing course operations.

“We know that H1N1 flu is a concern for many people, and we want to reassure our continuing medical education (CME) course participants that we are taking every precaution and are prepared to handle a variety of situations should they arise,” said AAOS CEO Karen L. Hackett, FACHE, CAE.

Implementing standards
The following practices will be enacted at every CME course:

  • CME staff will have tissues and alcohol-based cleansers in all rooms where course activities occur.
  • Face masks will be available to any participant or faculty member upon request.
  • Course directors will recognize H1N1 in their opening remarks, note precautions to take, mention availability of sanitizers at the course, and direct concerned participants to the course coordinator.
  • CME staff will obtain, from the host hotels, detailed maps with clear directions to local recommended physicians, area hospitals, pharmacies, as well as transportation for these purposes.

Knowing the signs, taking action
If a participant is suspected of having H1N1, the course director or codirector and staff coordinator may recommend that the individual leave the course. This recommendation will be based on guidelines provided by the CDC and made available to participants in course materials.

According to the CDC, signs and symptoms of the virus include the following: fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue, and, in some cases, diarrhea and vomiting. Adults who experience difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness, confusion, severe or persistent vomiting, or flu-like symptoms that improve but return with fever and worsened cough should seek medical attention.

A course participant with the virus who cancels his or her registration before or during the course will receive a full refund or may apply the payment toward another future CME course. No penalties will apply, but AAOS Customer Service must be informed of this action.

By enacting and adhering to these policies, the AAOS continues its commitment to ensuring a healthy physical environment and positive learning experience for all CME courses and participants.

Steps to avoid getting and spreading H1N1

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water—minimally for 15 to 20 seconds and ideally, for 3 minutes. If soap is not available, use alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing; dispose of the tissue in the trash after use. If a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into your arm or shoulder, not your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Avoid being in close contact—within 6 feet—of people with
  • flu-like illness.
  • Get a flu shot. Both seasonal flu vaccines and H1N1 vaccines are now available.
  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, the CDC recommends you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities.

For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/