The Student Health Center is committed to providing important and timely information
on current health concerns. Please check below for any information we have as well
as best practices to keep you safe and healthy.
Current Health Alerts
The National Weather Service urgently warns an excessive heat wave remains in effect in Los Angeles until 8 PM PDT, Friday, September 8, 2022.
Dangerously hot conditions with widespread temperatures of 100 to 110 offer little relief overnight with low temperatures only falling to the mid 70s to mid 80s. These extreme heat conditions significantly increase the potential for heat-related illnesses, particularly for those working or participating in outdoor activities.
Prevention of Heat-Related Illness
The CDC and the National Weather Service suggest the following to prevent heat-related illness during a heat wave.
- Drink plenty of fluids regardless of how active you are and take more fluids with you than you think you will need while you're outdoors. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink and stay away from sugary or alcoholic drinks as they cause you to lose more body fluid. Also avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.
- Replace salt and minerals lost after heavy sweating. If you are on a low-salt diet, have diabetes, high blood pressure, or have other chronic conditions, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage or taking salt tablets.
- Avoid hot and heavy meals. They add heat to your body!
- Wear appropriate lightweight, loose-fitting clothing.
- Wear sunscreen. Sunburn affects your body’s ability to cool down and can make you dehydrated. If you must go outdoors, protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and using SPF 15 or higher sunscreen 30 minutes prior to going out. Continue to reapply it according to the package directions.
- Stay in cool air-conditioned indoor places whenever possible—even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat. You can also take a cool shower to lower your body temperature.
- Take extra measures to keep indoor spaces cool. Limit the use of your stove, oven, appliances, and even lights in order to maintain a cooler indoor temperature. In living spaces without air conditioning, cover windows during the day so that the sun doesn’t shine in. Once the sun is past the window and the air cools down, open windows and doors as much as possible to increase air circulation. Keep in mind: Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, they will not prevent heat-related illnesses.
- Schedule outdoor activities carefully. It may be best to pause outdoor exercise until after the heat wave has passed. If you do exercise outdoors, try to limit your activity to when it’s coolest, like morning and evening hours, and rest often in shady or air-conditioned areas so that your body has a chance to recover. Do not hike, run, or bike in unfamiliar isolated areas, and do not sit in a hot parked car.
- Pace your exercise and adjust your workout by cutting down on duration, pace, and/or distance during the heat. Start slowly and pick up the pace gradually. If exertion in the heat makes your heart pound and leaves you gasping for breath, STOP all activity. Get into a cool area or into the shade, and rest, especially if you become lightheaded, confused, weak, or faint.
- Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location. Heat stroke is an emergency! Call 911!
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is working with state and national partners on an international outbreak of monkeypox. Monkeypox is a rare disease that is caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox is of public health concern because the illness is similar to smallpox and can be spread from infected humans, animals, and materials contaminated with the virus. Monkeypox is less transmissible and usually less severe than smallpox. The risk of monkeypox in the general population remains very low. In the current outbreak, most cases have been among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men or trans persons. However, anyone can get monkeypox if they are exposed. If you think you have had an exposure, have symptoms you are concerned about, or need to speak with someone about your risk, please speak with your primary care physician or contact the Student Health Center.
The Student Health Center is following guidance from the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. SHC clinicians are trained to identify monkeypox, and our office is procuring the necessary supplies for testing. Medical staff can complete risk assessments to help students assess their risk and, if appropriate, refer students for vaccination or post-exposure prophylaxis. At this time, monkeypox vaccination is not available at the SHC. Our office is working with Housing and Residence Life to make appropriate preparations for isolation space should a residential student contract monkeypox. The University recognizes some students may be experiencing ongoing feelings of uncertainty or anxiety. As a reminder, mental health resources are available through the Counseling Center.
Symptoms of monkeypox can include:
- Muscle aches and backache
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Respiratory symptoms (e.g., sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough)
- A rash that may be located on or near the genitals (penis, testicles, labia, and vagina)
or anus (butthole) but could also be on other areas like the hands, feet, chest, face,
- The rash will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing
- The rash can look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy
You may experience all or only a few symptoms:
- Sometimes, people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms; others only experience a rash
- Most people with monkeypox will get a rash
- Some people have developed a rash before (or without) other symptoms
Monkeypox symptoms usually start within 3 weeks of exposure to the virus. If someone has flu-like symptoms, they will usually develop a rash 1-4 days later. Monkeypox can be spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has healed, all scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks.
Take the following steps to prevent getting monkeypox:
- Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox
- Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with monkeypox
- Do not kiss, hug, cuddle, or have sex with someone with monkeypox
- Avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with monkeypox has used
- Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person with monkeypox
- Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with monkeypox
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially before eating or touching your face and after you use the bathroom
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends vaccination for people who have been exposed to monkeypox and people who may be more likely to get monkeypox. Currently, monkeypox vaccine supplies are very limited. Learn more about local vaccination clinics and eligibility requirements on the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health monkeypox webpage.
The University continues to work closely with international and domestic officials to monitor Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Learn more on the University's COVID-19 Planning and Preparedness webpage.
Free Flu Shots Available at the Student Health Center
It is not too late to receive an influenza (flu) vaccine to prevent getting the flu. Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself from the flu. There are additional steps you can take to keep yourself and your family healthy. Take everyday precautions, like washing your hands, to protect your health. If you are exposed to or caring for someone with the flu, talk to your doctor about preventive antiviral medications.
What is the best way to protect me and my family from the flu?
Everyone 6 months of age and older should be vaccinated against the flu every year. Flu vaccination is especially important for people who are at greater risk for complications from flu and those who live with or care for these individuals. Groups of people who are at high risk for flu complications include children younger than 5 years, adults 65 years and older, and pregnant women. Medical conditions such as asthma, chronic lung or heart disease, diabetes, and being overweight can also increase your risk for flu complications.
People at higher risk for complications from the flu should seek medical care as soon as they begin to feel ill, whether or not they have been vaccinated. They could benefit from antiviral therapy that can reduce the risk of experiencing complications and reduce the severity and duration of illness. Antiviral therapy is most effective when given early in the course of illness.
What are the everyday steps I can take to stop the spread of germs?
In addition to getting a flu vaccine, practicing good hygiene can help prevent getting and spreading the flu. This includes washing your hands, covering your coughs and sneezes, not touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, and staying home if you are sick. Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
Practice good health habits. Get plenty of sleep and exercise, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat healthy food. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
How do I know if I have the flu?
Symptoms of the flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, and fatigue. Pneumonia is the most common complication of the flu. Students with influenza or influenza-like illness or with any fever, should not attend classes until they have gone 24 hours without a fever. Flu can also aggravate underlying health conditions like heart disease or asthma. Annually, thousands of people nationwide are hospitalized or die from influenza-associated illness. For more information about the flu, please visit the Public Health website.
Are there medications I can take to prevent getting the flu?
If you are healthy but exposed to a person with the flu and are at elevated risk of complications from the flu because of immunosuppression, diabetes, or other major/chronic medical problems, antiviral drugs can prevent you from getting sick. The sooner you are treated with an antiviral drug, the more likely it will prevent the flu. Antiviral drugs are 70% to 90% effective at preventing the flu. Talk to your primary care physician if you think you need antiviral drugs.