How to stay healthy this cold, flu, and coronavirus season


hands washing with soap and water

Winter means we’re in the thick of cold and flu season. While it’s important to take care of your health year-round, the chilly weather and this year’s novel coronavirus (2019 n-CoV) outbreak means it’s even more crucial than ever to take steps to ensure health and wellness.

Luckily, the risk of contracting the coronavirus is low and you can work to prevent it with the same measures you use to avoid contracting influenza, the common cold, and other similar viruses common this time of year.

Help prevent the spread of infections and keep yourself and others healthy by:

  • Washing your hands often with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
  • Staying home when you are sick.
  • Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue and throwing the tissue in the trash.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Combine the common sense germ prevention strategies listed above with steps to promote overall health by:

  • Bundling up. Protect your body when you’re outdoors by wearing a coat, hat, boots, gloves, and scarf. Keeping your body warmer helps boost your immune system.
  • Getting a flu shot. Getting vaccinated can greatly increase your body’s ability to fight off or recover from the flu.
  • Staying active. Promote bone and muscle health, control weight, and improve sleep patterns for an overall healthier body better able to fight off illness.
  • Sleeping enough. Lack of sleep can weaken your immune system so help your body protect itself by giving it a break.
  • Eating healthy. A healthy diet strengthens the immune system by providing antioxidants and vitamins your body needs to resist viruses or infections.

The College is an international community with students living both on and off-campus. With so many people sharing common spaces, it’s up to us all to help prevent the spread of disease.

If you experience any of the following symptoms and have either traveled to/from Hubei Province, mainland China, or had contact with someone who is suspected to have coronavirus, stay home and contact a health–care provider.

Coronavirus Symptoms May Include:

  • Fever
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Headache
  • A general feeling of being unwell

Student Resources
If you have questions about campus exposure risks (including in the residence hall), have recently returned from travel in China, have interacted with someone who has traveled to China, and/or are exhibiting signs of illness, please reach out to Derek Levy, Dean of Student Support & Success (206-546-4544), or Yushin Wung, International Student Engagement Manager (206-546-6924).

Some students may also benefit from the following resources:

  • Counseling Center – Health care information, community resources, and confidential mental health support
  • International Education – Support for international students, including health insurance and travel questions

Find additional resources and more information about the College’s emergency preparedness plan for infectious diseases on the Safety and Security webpage.

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