Close living settings, like residence halls, can be places where viruses and bacteria spread easily from person-to-person. There are steps you can take to protect yourself and the people around you while reducing the spread of illness. Vaccination is an easy and often no-cost way for students to keep feeling healthy while protecting others. UHS offers vaccines for flu, mpox, meningitis B, and many others. For more information on staying well, and when to seek care at UHS, check out the tips below.
Keep your stuff clean
- Wash your hands and use hand sanitizer frequently. Especially after using the bathroom, before and after eating or preparing food for yourself or someone else, and when you are feeling sick.
- Wipe down high-contact surfaces regularly. Use cleaning wipes or sprays like Clorox or Lysol to wipe down doorknobs, light switches, refrigerator handles, and shared counter space.
- Wash or replace your bedding if you’ve been sick or had a new sexual encounter. Bodily fluids can spread illness, so it’s important to keep your sheets clean.
Avoid sharing personal items
- Keep your drinks to yourself and avoid taking sips from other people’s cups. Illness can spread easily through saliva.
- Wash your plates, silverware, and cups after use. Keeping these items clean and for personal use may help prevent illnesses through saliva.
- Keep your toothbrush, makeup, and other personal hygiene items to yourself. Illness can spread through contact with items used by someone who is sick.
- Avoid kissing, cuddling, or having sex with people who are sick. Activities that include a lot of close contacts can promote the spread of illness.
- If you choose to engage in sexual activities, do so more safely by limiting your number of sex partners, using condoms (which may offer some protection for contact with mpox rashes), or by having virtual sex without in-person contact. More tips are available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Safer Sex, Social Gatherings, and Monkeypox website.
For information about sexually transmitted infections (STIs) visit the UHS STI webpage.
Take steps if you feel sick
If you’re not feeling well, stay home and seek medical care through UHS (most services are no-cost to students). Please note that some of the illnesses listed below, including COVID-19, mpox, influenza-like illness (ILI), and meningitis B, must be reported to public health officials to prevent the spread of disease. Some illnesses may also require an isolation period. If this is the case, you will be provided with specific instructions for isolation.
Experiencing a cough, sore throat, or stuffy nose?
You might have a respiratory virus like COVID-19, the flu, or another common cold virus. These viruses can spread easily through the air, so if you feel ill it’s important to avoid contact with others, stay home, and rest while you recover. If you suspect you have a respiratory virus, stay home, wear a mask around others, and consider taking an at-home COVID-19 antigen test. If you test positive for COVID-19, isolate yourself from other members of your residence. Follow CDC guidance on isolation duration and testing.
If you have questions about recovering from home or when to seek care for symptoms, call University Health Services at 608-265-5600 to speak with a nurse. You should seek emergency care if you are experiencing any of the following serious symptoms:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone
Experiencing a new rash that looks like blisters, pimples, or lesions?
You might have mpox. Mpox spreads through direct skin-to-skin contact with rashes or bodily secretions, as well as prolonged face-to-face contact and touching fabrics or objects used by a person with mpox that has not been cleaned. If you suspect you have mpox, follow these next steps:
- Request an appointment through UHS for mpox testing.
- While waiting for test results, stay home and isolate yourself from others. Follow guidance from your healthcare provider.
- If the test result is positive, follow guidance from your healthcare provider.
Experiencing extreme fatigue?
You might have mononucleosis (mono). Mono spreads through bodily fluids, especially saliva. If you suspect you may have mono, follow these next steps:
- Schedule an appointment through UHS in primary care.
- If your health provider believes you have mono, follow their guidance for rest and recovery.
Experiencing a high fever, stiff neck, confusion, and/or light sensitivity?
You might have meningitis B. Meningitis B bacteria spreads through bodily fluids, especially saliva. If you suspect you may have meningitis B, act quickly and follow these next steps:
- Immediately schedule an appointment through UHS in primary care.
- If you test positive for meningitis B, follow guidance from your healthcare provider.
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