Returning to Work or School
Revised Nov. 6, 2009
These guidelines will be revised as situation evolves.
To date, most illness from the novel H1N1 influenza virus has been mild to moderate, but, as with seasonal influenza, there have been cases of very severe illness and several deaths in Texas. Some persons are at higher risk of severe disease or complications from influenza (see Box 1). To prevent spread of illness, it is important to follow preventive measures to avoid catching the flu and also measures to keep from infecting others. For more information on preventing influenza, taking care of an ill person at home, and other influenza issues, go to Families and Individuals on the www.texasflu.org site.
These Return to Work or School guidelines address the timing of returning to work or school after an influenza-like illness. The cautions apply whether a person has seasonal influenza, novel H1N1 influenza or a similar flu-like illness. If the novel H1N1 virus (or other seasonal influenza virus) changes significantly in severity, DSHS and CDC may make different recommendations as the situation evolves.
Note: “Stay at home” means persons should not congregate with friends, participate in other school or community activities, or be sent to a different day care. An ill person may leave home for medical appointments but should wear a mask (surgical mask is sufficient) while traveling to and from and during a medical appointment.
Table 1. Guidance for adults with flu-like illness on return to work or school
* Those working in a health care setting should be excluded for 24 hours after resolution of fever, without fever reducing medications. Healthcare workers involved with the care of severely immunosuppressed patients can be temporarily reassigned or should remain off work for seven (7) days or until resolution of symptoms whichever is longer. These healthcare workers may return to work sooner if documented to be PCR negative for H1N1 RNA in respiratory secretions. Refer to www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/guidelines_infection_control.htm for more information.
** If influenza severity increases, people with flu-like illness may be asked to stay home for at least 7 days, even if they have no more symptoms.
Table 2. Guidance for persons younger than 18 years old with flu-like illness on return to work or school
* If influenza severity increases, people with flu-like illness may be asked to stay home for at least 7 days, even if they have no more symptoms.
For more information on preventing influenza, taking care of an ill person at home, and other influenza issues, go to the Families and Individuals page on www.texasflu.org.
For more information on influenza and schools, colleges and universities, and businesses, please visit the following pages, also on www.texasflu.org: