Students, faculty and staff:
I hope that everyone enjoyed their winter break. Now that we’re all back, I want to take a moment to share important tips and resources to help minimize the spread of respiratory illnesses and keep our campus community healthy, in class, and at work.
We’re entering into the time of year at the university when we typically see a spike in respiratory illnesses like the flu virus. Common respiratory illnesses primarily spread when someone who is infected coughs or sneezes, potentially propelling respiratory droplets several feet through the air. You can become infected by then inhaling these droplets or by touching a surface that has been contaminated by them (such as a desk, doorknob or keyboard) and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.
Here are some precautions we encourage you to take so you can stay healthy:
- Get a flu shot—it’s not too late. Students can get vaccinated at University Health Services by scheduling an appointment via the MyUHS Patient Portal or by calling 512-475-8301. Faculty and staff can get a flu shot from their healthcare provider, UT Health Austin, or most large retail pharmacies.
- Keep your hands clean. Carry alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and use it frequently.
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow or sleeve. When you use a tissue, throw it in the trash immediately.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Don't eat, drink or smoke after others.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick, especially if they have fever, cough and/or a sore throat.
- Try to get sufficient sleep, exercise regularly, manage stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious foods.
We know that many of our community members travel over the winter break. As we become a more global society, we often see the spread of infections across geographic regions and populations. You may have heard recent news reports about an outbreak of a novel coronavirus in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses and usually only cause mild respiratory disease, such as the common cold. Information about this new coronavirus, including the severity of symptoms it causes and how it spreads, is evolving rapidly. University Health Services (UHS), and other partners across campus are continuing to reach out for the latest updates on guidelines and prevention recommendations as indicated by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention and state and county health departments.
The CDC advises following the same precautions we listed above as the primary form of prevention. UHS routinely screens all students seen in the clinic who have a fever for recent travel. To prevent the spread of illness in the clinic, we also ask patients with potentially infectious respiratory symptoms to wear a mask, regardless of whether they have traveled recently or not.
For the latest information about coronavirus, please visit the dedicated CDC webpage
. Texas Global also offers travel advice
for individuals with planned travel to Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.
If you are experiencing respiratory symptoms with a fever and have been in Wuhan within the last two weeks or have had contact with an individual known to have the coronavirus and you are a student, please call the UHS Nurse Advice Line at 512-475-6877. Staff and faculty with UT Select insurance may contact the 24/7 Nurseline provided by Blue Cross Blue Shield at 888-315-9473 or seek care from the UT Health WorkLife Walk-in Clinic
or their personal healthcare provider.
Wishing you a healthy start to the spring semester.
Dr. Terrance Hines
Executive Director and Chief Medical Officer
University Health Services