Information for Students

January 24, 2020

(Note: This message was also shared with parents of SU students.)

Dear Seattle University Student,

We are in the midst of the cold and flu season which is impacting many students, faculty, and staff here on campus. Influenza activity remains elevated in King County.

Washington State has also seen the first confirmed US case of a new coronavirus (2019 nCoV) first detected in Wuhan, China which has brought up many questions and concerns. The Seattle University Student Health Center staff are closely monitoring the situation and following the recommendations for early identification and appropriate management of students provided by the Center for Disease Control and our public health departments. Dr Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health-Seattle & King County, states, “At this time the risk to the general public is low.” We will update students if we receive information that changes this level of concern as we learn more about this virus.

The best option for all of these infections is to avoid getting sick all together. Our recommendations for preventing and minimizing the spread of illness are:

Wash your hands frequently

If soap and water are not available use hand sanitizer but some viruses are only killed off with hand washing. Good hand washing involves the following steps:

  1. Wet your hands with warm or cold water and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap for at least 20 seconds.
  3. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  4. Dry your hands with a clean towel or air dry them.

Adequate amount of sleep

Lack of sleep can impact your immune system making it easier to get sick if exposed to a virus as well as impact how fast you recover if you become sick.

Stay home if you are feeling ill

Your friends and faculty/staff will appreciate you not sharing your germs, especially if you have a fever or are vomiting. Don’t forget to take care of yourself and get rest!

If you have a history of travel from Wuhan China in the 2 weeks preceding your symptoms or have had contact with a person confirmed to have 2019-nCoV AND are experiencing fever, cough or shortness of breath please seek care immediately.

Keep your germs to yourself

Cough into elbows, not hands where it’s more likely to spread bacteria and viruses through touch. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth because this is a common way to spread germs.

Get vaccinated

There is a vaccine available for influenza and there is still benefit to receiving it at this time. Even if you feel you have already had “the flu” this year it may not have been caused by the influenza virus.

For the full interview with Dr. Duchin and more information about the 2019nCoV coronavirus please visit the following sites:

Interview with Dr. Duchin

CDC Coronavirus Information


Tara Hicks, ARNP
Director of Student Health Center
Seattle University
Office: 206.296.6300 I Fax: 206.296.6089