This time of year, as students are returning to campus or traveling abroad, and cold and flu seasons are ramping up, we are mindful of illnesses that could be acquired while traveling.
Influenza-like Illness (ILI) is here in Philadelphia, and we’re starting to see an uptick on campus. Here are some tips for reducing the spread of illness on and off campus.
We are actively monitoring the novel coronavirus outbreak. Coronaviruses are a large, very common, family of viruses. They can be mild like a cold, or more severe like Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), was recently identified. Campus Health, along with our colleagues within the University of Pennsylvania Hospital System, are monitoring the situation closely. We continue to coordinate information exchange with the University’s senior leadership, Penn Global, UPHS, Risk Management, and VPUL. At this time, there is limited person-to-person transmission of this illness globally, meaning little risk to our Penn Community.
Here are additional tips—these work for coronavirus, flu, and other illnesses—you can share with concerned students, staff, or faculty:
1. If you become unwell following travel, schedule an appointment at SHS or call SHS to speak to a nurse (215-746-3535). If you are Penn faculty or staff, please contact your Primary Care provider.
2. If traveling and feeling unwell, seek medical care. International SOS or your health insurance can be a good source of information regarding accessing care.
3. Use good hand hygiene. Wash hands with soap and warm water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
4. Limit the spread of germs and illness. Cover the mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your sleeve or elbow. Avoid sharing food, drinks, utensils, cups, vapes/JUULs, etc.
5. Self-isolate if you are feeling unwell (stay home and do not go to classes, work, or social events). If after 24 hours you are not feeling better consult medical guidance.
It is not likely 2019-nCoV will hit campus, but it is likely we continue to see respiratory illnesses that mimic some of the symptoms. Flu remains the predominant concern at this time. Please visit the SHS website for up to date information and the Campus Health Disease Updates page for more details on coronaviruses.