Viruses have arrived on the UP campus along with returning faculty, staff, and students, according to Susan Chisum, health center. Unlike with other guests, it’s best to keep viruses at bay to have a happy, healthy New Year. While walking to class or the office you hear the dreaded cough and sneeze—that means the rhinovirus or cold virus is here. The flu virus is also spread that way, so please cover your cough or sneeze. An innocent gesture like sharing a drink with a friend can expose students to Mono or any number of contagious viruses. Sharing a bite of pizza or other food can lead to the dreaded Norovirus (nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea). The following tips may seem obvious, but in the long run following these steps will help us all have a better chance for a healthy winter and spring on The Bluff:
- Hand-washing is key—wash your hands often with soap and warm water, especially before meals, after using the restroom, coughing or sneezing. Alcohol hand sanitizers are effective when soap and water are not available.
- Limit physical contact—this is the optimal way to prevent viruses from spreading. Stay home if you are sick. Don’t risk spreading your illness to others. You should stay home for at least 24 hours after any fever is gone.
If you feel the odds are against you, practicing prevention now will help reduce your risk of illness. If you have not had a flu shot, make an appointment at the health center today. If you’ve heard that the match between the flu vaccine and some of the flu strains are not perfect, that is correct. However, the CDC is still recommending the flu vaccine as it protects you from three different strains of flu.
If you do catch the flu, you may have a high fever and be ill for a week or longer. The health center supports the CDC recommendation for flu prevention: get vaccinated! Please visit the health center website for suggestions on managing symptoms if you become ill.