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College students have more than their share of exposure to colds and flu. Close living quarters, classes and group activities create opportunities for illness to spread.

University Health Services (UHS) offers these tips for staying healthy:
  • Get vaccinated. UHS is offering a number of flu shot clinics in October and November. Watch to learn how and when to get vaccinated.
  • Cover. Use a tissue to cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze.
  • Clean. Wash your hands often with soap and clean, warm, running water. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are equally effective if your hands aren’t visibly dirty.
  • Hands off. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth; germs spread easily this way.
  • Don’t share. Keep things like drinking glasses, bottles and utensils to yourself.
  • Keep your distance. Avoid contact with people who have (or who recently had) a cold or the flu.
  • Stay strong. Eat well, drink water, get plenty of sleep and be physically active. Alcohol, other drugs and smoking can weaken your immune system.

About colds and flu

  • Typical cold symptoms include fever, sore throat, headache, a stuffy nose and cough; these can last from a few days to several weeks.
  • Flu symptoms usually start with high fever, shaking chills and intense muscle aches, followed by headache, stuffy nose, sore throat, cough and weakness.
  • Both cold and flu are viral illnesses; antibiotics don’t treat viruses and won’t work against colds or flu.


  • In a life-threatening emergency, always call 911.
  • If you don't know whether you should be seen, or if you have questions, call UHS’ Triage Advice Nurse,
    (413) 577-5229, during health center hours.
  • To schedule an appointment with UHS, call (413) 577-5101. Same-day appointments are available.
    For 24/7 medical advice, call (413) 577-5000.
  • If you need UHS’ Walk-in Care, you can now wait where you’re most comfortable. Text “clinic” to (413) 944-8562. You’ll receive a response text with your number and a reminder text when it’s almost your turn to be seen.
  • The UHS Pharmacy fills prescriptions and sells over-the-counter medications, hand sanitizer, tissues, snacks, cold beverages and many other personal care items at student-friendly prices.; call (413) 577-5030.
  • The UHS Shuttle offers free rides from residence halls to the main UHS building at 150 Infirmary Way.
    Call (413) 577-7425. Same-day rides can be scheduled until a half-hour before UHS’ closing time; check for current hours. To schedule a ride up to two business days ahead, call weekdays,
    7 a.m. – 5 p. m.
  • UMass Dining Services offers “get well meals” for sick students. Request them from your Dining Commons manager: