Tips for Preventing Illness
Getting vaccinated is your best defence against the flu and COVID-19. As it both protects you from illness, but more importantly it reduces the chance of spreading the virus to others. Both flu shots and COVID-19 vaccines are free and available to all U of G students, staff & faculty, plus Guelph community members through Student Health Services.
Wash Your Hands
Viruses can live on your hands for up to 3 hours. So, one of the simplest ways to avoid getting sick is regular and proper hand washing. Use soap and water and lather for at least 20 seconds. For your convenience, the university provides sanitizers throughout campus.
No matter the season you should always practice proper respiratory hygiene etiquette. When sneezing or coughing cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your elbow. Even if you are not sick, this helps prevent the spread of droplets.
Wear a Mask
In enclosed or crowded spaces, consider wearing a well-constructed mask, especially if you are unvaccinated or immunocompromised. Wearing a mask helps contain the respiratory particles you exhale and reduce the ones you inhale.
Keep Your Distance
During the heightened cold and flu season when in public, try maintaining physical distancing to reduce your risk of infection. The further the virus has to travel, the less likely you are to catch it.
Am I Sick?
Recognizing if you’re sick can help reduce the spread of illness and keep our campus healthy.
|Symptoms||COLD (symptoms develop slowly)||FLU (symptoms appear suddenly)|
|Fever||Rare||High Fever (39-40°C)|
|Headache||Rare||Usual, Can be Severe|
|General Aches and Pain||Rare||Usual, Can be Severe|
|Fatigue and Weakness||Sometimes, Mild||Usual, Severe|
|Runny, Stuffy Nose||Common||Common|
|Coughing||Sometimes Mild - Moderate||Usual, Can be Severe|
|Complications||Can lead to Sinus Congestion ("congestion" does not equal "infection")||Can lead to pneumonia and respiratory failure, can be life-threatening|
|Prevention||Frequent hand washing||Annual vaccination and frequent hand washing|
What to Do if You Get Sick
These are guidelines only. If for any other reason you feel that further attention is necessary, contact Health Services at 519-824-4120 Ext. 52131
The most important thing you can do if you’re sick is stay home. By self-isolating you protect those around you and help contain the spread. You should only leave your house to seek testing or medical care if required.
Thankfully in most cases, you don’t need to see your doctor if you have the cold or flu. Instead use the time to focus on recovery by getting plenty of rest and drinking lots of clear fluids.
Stay home until all apply to you:
- Your symptoms have improved for 24 hours (48 hours if you had nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea)
- You do not have a fever
- You do not develop any additional symptoms
However, contact your medical provider or contact Health Services at 519-824-4120 Ext. 52131 if your symptoms worsen or:
- You have a fever of 38.5°C for more than 48 hours
- You have chest pain, shortness of breath
- You have had coughing spells or coloured sputum
- If you have a persistent sore throat or swollen glands and neck
Think you have COVID or had contact with a positive case?
Take a COVID self assessment and follow the guidance provided.
If you are a University of Guelph staff and faculty and are unable to perform your work duties due to respiratory illness, please complete the Employee Self-Declaration Form. For absences of five (5) or more days medical documentations is required to be provided to Occupational Health and Wellness (OHW), you can review the details at our Non-Occupational Short-Term Disability (STD) page.
Sick, but live in residence or have roommates?
- Be mindful of the space you share with others. Do your best to limit your contacts, wear a mask outside your room and consider having a friend bring you your food.
- Even at home continue to practice regular and proper hand washing. By lathering for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.
- Plan ahead and create an illness kit with basic supplies such as acetaminophen, cough and cold medicine, thermometer, masks, hand sanitizer etc.
- Reach out to your RA or healthcare professional for support as needed
So, your symptoms have been improving for at least 24 hours, you don’t have a fever and you’re feeling pretty good. But before you head out into the world again, please continue to take precautions to reduce the spread in our community.
For 10 days after your symptoms started:
- Wear a well-fitted mask in public
- Avoid non-essential activities that require you to take off your mask
- Avoid visiting anyone who is considered high-risk (immunocompromised or seniors)
- Avoid visiting high-risk settings such as hospitals and long-term care homes
Staying Healthy Inside and Out
Whether you are struggling with mental health, facing physical challenges or just want to stay active. The University of Guelph is dedicated to providing the support and resources you need to be at your best.
Because the only way we can have a healthy campus, is by protecting the wellbeing of our community members.
The Department of Student Wellness is made of 7 different units who are available to support your physical and mental health needs.
Guelph Gryphons Fitness & Recreation
Improve your physical health and well-being by utilizing the University of Guelph’s athletic facilities and fitness programs.
Adjacent to campus discover the therapeutic benefits of connecting with nature by exploring the Arboretum’s gardens, walking trails, natural woodlands, wetlands, and meadows.
Occupational Health & Wellness
If you are a U of G staff member, the OHW provides comprehensive workplace health strategies to improve your health and well-being.
Let’s Create a Healthier Community
Our community is diverse, made of individuals with different perspectives, all facing their own unique health challenges. In order to create a healthy campus for everyone, we must createa healthy community. This starts by being considerate and respectful of the health choices of others.
By choosing to treat others with kindness and empathy you contribute to the well-being of our community, and can make the University of Guelph a safer, healthier and more inclusive place.