Dear Ann Arbor Campus Community:
Around the country, rates of respiratory illnesses are on the rise this fall. COVID-19, seasonal influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), adenovirus and many other respiratory viruses that could disrupt your daily activities share similar symptoms, such as a cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, fever, or fatigue.
Currently, pediatric emergency departments and hospitals in Michigan are seeing surges in respiratory illnesses and are nearing critical capacity. Students who are sick should call University Health Service (UHS) at (734) 764-8320 for medical guidance; nurse advice is available anytime, day or night.
With little more than a month of classes remaining in the fall term, the U-M Public Health Response team is sharing ways that you can help keep yourself, your fellow Wolverines, and your family members healthy as we head into a period of increased travel and more indoor gatherings.
How to protect yourself from getting sick
- Get vaccinated. Updated COVID-19 booster shots and influenza vaccines are available at UHS by appointment and at pop-up clinics across campus. On-campus flu shot clinics are also available through a partnership between Michigan Medicine’s Flu/Immunization Program, MHealthy and Student Life. These clinics are open to U-M students, faculty, and staff. Local pharmacies also provide convenient, easy access to vaccines.
- Consider wearing a mask when around others. Well-fitting masks and high-filtration respirators remain effective tools to significantly reduce the likelihood of acquiring all respiratory viruses.
- Assess your risk before attending large gatherings. If you have a higher risk of complications due to underlying medical problems or immunocompromised state, you may want to limit your potential exposure to illnesses by avoiding large crowds, especially indoors.
- Maintain healthy habits. Respiratory viruses are generally spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. Preventive, healthy behaviors include frequent hand washing, cleaning frequently touched surfaces and avoiding touching areas of your face where the virus could enter.
How to protect others when you are sick
- Stay home when sick. Anyone who does not feel well or has new symptoms, including a cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, fever, or fatigue, should avoid gatherings and stay home.
- Wear a mask if you have had a known exposure or if you are experiencing symptoms and you must go out. Choose an N-95 or other medical grade mask to help limit the spread of respiratory droplets.
- Get tested. If you do not feel better with time and rest, consider getting tested. UHS offers one test that can detect four types of respiratory illnesses: COVID-19, Influenza A and B, and RSV. Students and UHS patients can schedule an appointment through the patient portal or by calling 734-764-8320. Faculty and staff can seek a test through Occupational Health Services (OHS) by using the patient portal (preferred) or calling OHS at 734-764-8021.
Beyond respiratory illnesses, the monkeypox virus (MPV) continues to circulate in our community at very low levels. If you believe you may be at risk, consider getting vaccinated. More information, including how to get vaccinated, is available on the UHS website.
Robert D. Ernst, MD
Chief Health Officer
Associate Vice President of Student Life