Campus Communications

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November 11, 2022


Dear Campus Community,

In late October, I wrote to you about the importance of prevention as we entered the fall respiratory virus season. Over the last few weeks, the state of Maryland has seen an increase in a variety of respiratory viruses, including the flu, RSV and adenovirus. The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) is currently reporting respiratory illness activity in Maryland as "very high." As expected, the University Health Center is also seeing many patients with flu-like symptoms, such as fever, cough, congestion, sore throat, diarrhea and vomiting. The university is following all applicable protocols and advice from public health departments related to respiratory illnesses.

I want to remind everyone of the important precautions you should be taking to keep yourself and our campus community as healthy and safe as possible.

Precautions

  • Get a flu shot and a COVID-19 booster. Schedule an appointment at myuhc.umd.edu. You may also get these vaccines at any community pharmacy, and at your doctor's office.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds and/or use hand sanitizer frequently.
  • Clean high-touch surfaces in your room with antibacterial cleaner.
  • Avoid sharing food, utensils, cups and water bottles.
  • Be aware of people around you who are sick, and avoid contact with them, if possible.
  • If you are sick, stay home and rest. If you cannot stay home, avoid crowded places to prevent spreading viruses to others. In particular, avoid friends or family who have underlying medical problems when you are feeling unwell. Resident students should consider going home to recover if their permanent home is within reasonable driving distance.
  • Cover your cough and sneezes.
  • Wear a well-fitting mask if you have to be around other people.

Most individuals with the flu or another respiratory virus will be able to manage their symptoms at home with rest, fluids and over-the-counter medications without the need to seek medical care for their symptoms.

However, it is important that people take action to prevent respiratory disease, especially people who are at higher risk of developing serious complications, like older adults, pregnant people, and individuals with chronic medical conditions or compromised immune systems.

If you have a medical condition that may predispose you to a more severe illness or weakens your immune system, or if you take medicines that weaken your immune system, please contact your personal physician for medical advice as soon as you start feeling unwell. If you don't have a personal physician, contact the University Health Center at 301.314.8180.

Additional Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The CDC provides a variety of information about respiratory viruses, including the fluRSV and adenovirus. We are counting on all of you to keep our campus community healthy and safe. Stay healthy and be well!

Handwritten Signature for Spyridon Marinopoulos, M.D., M.B.A., F.A.C.P.

Spyridon Marinopoulos, M.D., M.B.A., F.A.C.P.
Director, University Health Center
Chief Medical Officer, University of Maryland
He/Him/His

Previous Messages to the Campus Community

October 26th, 2022

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October 26th, 2022


Dear Campus Community,

I am writing with recommendations for how to prepare for the beginning of the cold and influenza ("flu") virus season. Experts are projecting an increase in flu activity this year. COVID-19 is still circulating in the community. We can help stop the spread of colds, flu, and other viruses on our campus if we continue to follow many of the preventive measures that are already in place and get our flu shot and COVID-19 booster.

Getting a Flu Shot

The time to get your flu shot is now. Schedule your flu shot at the University Health Center. You can also get the flu shot at any pharmacy in the community, or at your doctor's office. Getting the flu vaccine is one of the best actions you can take to prevent serious symptoms or complications from the flu. If you have certain health conditions that make you high-risk, it is especially important to get the flu shot as soon as possible, and seek medical care promptly if you do end up having the flu.

As COVID-19 continues to circulate, getting the flu shot is important to help keep you healthy from a possible co-infection with COVID-19 and the flu. Because we did not experience a true flu season last year, medical experts don't yet know how having both viruses at the same time might impact one's health.

Getting a COVID-19 Bivalent Booster

Immunity to COVID-19 wanes over time. I recommend that you receive a COVID-19 booster with the new bivalent vaccine that is known to be effective against the Omicron subvariants. Getting your booster is particularly important if you have certain medical conditions that place you at high risk or you are immunocompromised.  As I mentioned above, getting the bivalent COVID-19 booster is important to help keep you healthy from a possible co-infection with COVID-19 and the flu.

You can schedule a COVID-19 booster at the University Health Center. You can also get the booster at any pharmacy in the community, at your doctor's office, or at Maryland COVID-19 booster vaccination sites.

If you are planning to get the COVID-19 booster and the flu vaccine, studies have shown that you can get them both at the same time and you don't need to wait in-between shots. Please find additional information and a list of frequently asked questions on the on the UHC website.

Everyday Prevention

It is up to all of us to help us prevent the spread of viruses on our campus:

  • Stay at home if you feel sick.
  • Cover your cough and sneezes; wear a well-fitting mask if you have to be around others.
  • Use an air filtration device if one is available to you; open the windows as the weather permits.
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer frequently.
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces.
  • Don't share food, utensils, water bottles, or cups.

Stay healthy and be well,

Handwritten Signature for Spyridon Marinopoulos, M.D., M.B.A., F.A.C.P.

Spyridon Marinopoulos, M.D., M.B.A., F.A.C.P.
Director, University Health Center
Chief Medical Officer, University of Maryland
He/Him/His