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Flu Information for Parents

This page was last updated September 4, 2009

Read the letter to parents from
SMU President R. Gerald Turner

SMU Flu Website

SMU students have been reporting to the Health Center with flu. In accordance with Dallas County Health and Human Services guidelines, SMU is treating all cases of flu or flu-like symptoms as if they were Novel H1N1 influenza. Most reported cases have been mild, and most of those afflicted have recovered within a few days of onset.

The Center requests that students bring their health insurance cards to get medications. Otherwise, they will be charged full price for any prescriptions.

Due to patient volume, the Center is starting over-the-phone triage to prioritize patients. If a student has a condition that can wait to be seen by a doctor, the University recommends that they go to the center at a later date to avoid exposure to the influenza virus. The center's phone number is 214-768-2141.

SMU will distribute flu vaccine as soon as it becomes available to us (check and campus e-mail messages for times and locations).

SMU remains in close contact with the Dallas County Health Department, the Texas Department of State Health Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization. The University also is monitoring the flu situation in other countries for those studying or teaching abroad.

Different Types of Flu

There are three types of flu – A, B, and C.  A and B are typically responsible for pandemics and seasonal flu.  C is mild.  Type A viruses are divided into subtypes.  H1N1 is type A, but it is not seasonal flu.  Seasonal flu typically refers to the strain of flu that circulates in fall – early spring.

“ILI” stands for influenza-like illness.  It’s often the term used to describe symptoms of someone who has not yet been diagnosed with flu — they may or may not have flu.

Thermometers are being distributed to students living in residence halls.

Current Conditions in Dallas County

So far, most flu cases in Dallas County are mild and most people are recovering within two to four days of illness onset. Dallas County is reporting that 98% of the flu being seen locally is H1N1. However, the severity is generally milder than regular seasonal flu.

If Your Student Feels Ill

Students who exhibit flu-like symptoms, such as fever, body aches, a cough or sore throat should try to manage symptoms with fever reducing medications, plenty of fluids and get plenty of rest.

Those with chronic health conditions such as asthma or more severe symptoms call the SMU Health Center at 214-768-2141.

Your student should not go to class if he or she is ill.  Students should be fever-free for 24 hours without the assistance of fever reduction medication before attending classes or associating with the general student population. Students should notify their professors as soon as possible and complete the Absence Reporting Form.

If you live within driving distance of SMU, your student may prefer to recuperate at home.

SMU encourages students to be proactive regarding their health; to assess how they are feeling, see a doctor if needed and to not attend class if they are ill.

SMU Health Center Hours

Open Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Extended hours on Thursdays until 7 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. (except home football game days and University holidays). To make an appointment, call 214-768-2141.

A paramedic is available in the Health Center on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays 9 p.m. – 5 a.m.  No appointment necessary.

If the Health Center is closed, students can call the 24-Hour Nurse Advice line for assistance at 214-768-2141.

Other After-Hours Options for Students
If students need assistance after hours, they can:

  • See
  • Visit PrimaCare at 6350 E. Mockingbird Lane at Abrams Road
    Hours of Operation:
    Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 9 p.m.
    Saturday & Sunday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
    Phone: 214-828-0448
  • Visit QuestCare at 3414 Milton in Snider Plaza
    Hours of Operation:
    Monday - Friday, 10 a.m. - 10 p.m.
    Saturday, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
    Sunday, noon - 8 p.m.
    Phone: 214-368-4822
  • See their private physician
  • Call the SMU Campus Police at 214-768-3333 or 911 for assistance.
  • If a student has an emergency, please call 911 or go to a hospital:
    • Presbyterian Hospital: 214-345-6789, Emergency 214-345-7886
    • Baylor Hospital: 214-820-0111, Emergency 214-820-2501
    • Doctors Hospital: 214-324-6100, Emergency 214-324-6111

The SMU Parent Information Line will also have updated information at 214-768-7273.

Flu Vaccines

The Health Center urges all students, faculty and staff to get seasonal flu shots as soon as possible from pharmacies or physicians. The University expects to begin providing seasonal flu shots in late September. Shots for Novel H1N1 flu are expected to be available later in the year.

Missing Classes

If students are ill, they should notify their professors as soon as possible by e-mail, or they may call the Office of the Dean of Students for assistance at 214-768-4564. SMU’s Provost has issued procedures for faculty that encourage flexibility on make-up assignments and exams for students who are ill.

SMU Sanitation Procedures

SMU has increased the frequency of sanitation procedures in University buildings and encourages vigilance regarding personal hygiene and health habits. SMU will continuously update our campus flu information at

Alcohol-based hand sanitizer pumps are available in key campus areas such as the Hughes-Trigg Student Center, the Dining Halls and the Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports.

Food Service

If a student has a meal plan, he or she may contact the residence hall assistant or give a sanitized ID card to a friend who can pick up meals at RFoC. An ill student may not eat in the dining hall until he or she has been fever-free for 24 hours.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Recommendations

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued new guidelines for schools and colleges on how to handle H1N1/swine flu cases. The CDC does not recommend closure of institutions but rather recommends that each ill student avoid interaction with the general campus population and not attend classes until fever-free for 24 hours without the assistance of a fever reduction medication.

Dallas County Health and Human Services

SMU is in constant contact with the Dallas County Health and Human Services and continues to follow national health guidelines during this time.

Good Hygiene

We continue to encourage students to practice good hygiene. Covering their mouth with a tissue or their sleeve if they sneeze or cough; avoiding touching their eyes, nose and mouth; washing their hands frequently with soap and water or alcohol-based hand cleaners are all good hygiene practices.