Happy New Year and welcome back to campus! Many of us travelled and gathered with loved ones over the break and may have brought back a most unwelcome souvenir: flu, COVID, a cold, or maybe RSV. The Oregon Health Authority is reporting an increase in respiratory virus cases state-wide, with significant increases in the Willamette Valley over the last couple weeks. And of course, we are also navigating COVID, RSV, and the common cold as well, so we're writing to remind everyone of a few things.
Prevention is key! Mask up if you are ill. Be sure to cover your coughs and sneezes, and wash your hands often. Soap and water are most effective, but sanitizing gel also works. Most importantly, get vaccinated and take good care of yourself by getting adequate rest and staying well hydrated.
There is a lot of symptom overlap between a cold, the flu, RSV, and COVID, and it’s important to be aware of any symptoms. The most helpful thing you can do is stay out of class and activities if you are ill. We know students value their academics and don’t want to miss anything, but the last thing we want is for more people to get sick.
- Symptoms of the flu include: Sudden onset of fever, chills, body aches, headache, cough, sore throat, dizziness, fatigue, and vomiting.
- Symptoms of a cold include: Milder cough, sore throat or fatigue, runny or stuffy nose, and sneezing. Students with colds don’t typically need to seek medical care, and recover well at home with supportive care. RSV symptoms are very similar to cold symptoms, but in some people can lead to shortness of breath and pneumonia.
- Symptoms of COVID include: Fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea.
Symptoms of these viral illnesses typically last 1-2 weeks, but the cough can linger for several weeks, but should improve gradually over time.
In the links provided below, you can also find more information from the CDC about the care and treatment of:
- Common cold
You can find the most up to date regional flu and COVID, and RSV data on Oregon Health Authority’s Respiratory Virus Data website (website listed below).
Some additional notes:
Vaccines are very effective in preventing serious illness and death. The best way to find a flu or COVID vaccine close to you is by using the federal vaccines.gov site. You can search by location and vaccine type. The closest locations to the Salem campus are Safeway and Salem Health. The closest locations to PNCA are Multnomah County Health Services Clinic (6th Ave.) and Rite Aid Pharmacy.
Lastly, as a reminder, Bishop Wellness Center does not provide “notes” for absences from class. If you are ill and unable to attend class, please communicate with your professor to make up any missed work as your earliest convenience.