As you are likely aware, the feared “tripledemic” of COVID, flu, and RSV is gripping the nation.
Flu cases in particular are spiking well ahead of schedule this year, and health care systems are struggling to keep up. As we prepare for our winter break, we know many in our community will be traveling and gathering to celebrate with friends and family. Today we offer some tips to stay healthy during the holidays.
Three things you can do to stay healthy to do this holiday season:
- Get vaccinated. It’s not too late to get your flu shot. This year’s flu vaccine looks to be a good match for the virus that is circulating and is effective in preventing serious illness. It’s also not too late to get your bivalent COVID boosters if you haven't already done so. There currently is no vaccine for RSV, though preventative actions are still effective in preventing transmission.
- Take preventative actions. The most helpful thing you can do to prevent the spread of viruses is to stay home if you are ill. Washing your hands often, wearing masks (especially around babies, older people, and immunocompromised people), covering your coughs and sneezes, avoiding touching your eyes and face, and cleaning high touch surfaces often are also effective in preventing spread.
- Seek treatment if you suspect you have the flu. Symptoms of the flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people also may have vomiting and diarrhea. Your physician may be able to prescribe antiviral medication.
Prior to returning to campus in January
As a reminder, all university campuses are closed for the winter break between Dec. 17 and Jan. 1, 2023. On the Salem Campus, Goudy will resume food service with dinner on Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023. There will not be food options available on the Salem campus until that time.
In an effort to minimize the chances of spreading these viruses during travel and return to campus, we urge people to not travel back to campus in January if you are ill. Stay home until you are no longer contagious and communicate with your faculty if your return will be delayed. Further, we recommend that people test for COVID using an at-home antigen test immediately prior to travel, and to stay home and follow isolation guidelines if positive.
Take good care of yourself. We hope everyone enjoys a restful winter break!
Don Thomson, Associate Dean for Health and Well-being and Justin Leibowitz, Assistant Dean for Community Care and Inclusion