Staying well may be the easiest way to make the most of university life. Getting sick or hurt can sometimes be unavoidable – life has its ups and downs – but if you take some easy preventive measures you can keep yourself healthy and save your energy for studying and other fun activities.

Reducing Your Risk of Illness through the Winter Months

It is at this time of year that we often see a higher number of students with viral infections, such as the flu, colds, and viral gastroenteritis. We want to remind the University community to be especially vigilant during this time with preventive practices, such as careful handwashing, avoiding contact with persons who are ill, not sharing personal items, and staying home if you are ill to avoid further spread of the virus. If you are feeling unwell for longer than the expected amount of time, see your health care practitioner.

The Common Cold is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract (nose and throat). Most people recover after 5 to 10 days.

Influenza (Flu) is a viral infection of the respiratory system (nose, throat and lungs). Most people recover within one to two weeks. Those with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for complications.

Viral Gastroenteritis or Norovirus Infection (sometimes called “stomach flu”) is not a flu at all. It is an intestinal infection marked by watery diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea or vomiting, and sometimes a fever. It is most commonly caused by contact with an infected individual. Depending on the cause, symptoms usually resolve after 24 to 48 hours. Read more about the Norovirus on the Toronto Public Health website.

There is no effective treatment or cure for these viral infections, so prevention is key. Scroll down this page for tips on staying healthy.  

Contents

Avoid colds and flu Tips to help you stay healthy
Concussion Do you think you might have a concussion?
Nicotine Need some help quitting smoking? Try Leave The Pack Behind!
Tips All about the benefits of physical activity, getting involved on campus, nutrition, quality sleep and stress management

Avoid colds and flu

Colds usually last 5 to 10 days, but a flu can rob you of your energy for up to 2 weeks. That’s a lot of lost study time!

 

What you can do

Taking care of your overall health can help your body fight off a cold or flu virus:

  • Get adequate rest (7-9 hours/night) and moderate, regular exercise (at least 30 minutes/day on most days of the week).

  • Eat a nutrient-rich, well-balanced diet.

  • Minimize stress.

  • Limit how much alcohol you drink.

  • If you smoke, try to quit.

Stop the spread of germs:

  • Wash or sanitize your hands frequently.

  • Cover your cough/sneeze.

  • Avoid sharing personal items and avoid contact with others who are sick.  

 

Get the flu shot:

Because the flu vaccine changes each year, you need to get vaccinated each year, usually in the fall. Check the Health + Wellness homepage in the fall for dates and times.

 

Concussion

Do you think you might have a concussion?

If you have hit your head or experienced a strong jolt to your body that might have shaken your head and you are experiencing any of the symptoms below, you should seek medical attention:  

  • Headache

  • Low energy or tire easily

  • Fatigue

  • Neck pain

  • Dizziness

  • Balance difficulties

  • Feeling dazed/confused

  • Feeling slow/groggy

  • Light/noise sensitivity

  • Sleep disturbances

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Difficulty remembering

  • Changes in mood, i.e. feeling irritable, overwhelmed, depressed                                           

Don’t ignore these symptoms. You should seek medical care.

After a concussion, you need to take time for both physical and cognitive rest. There is help on campus to assist you with your physical recovery and support you dealing with academic issues while you recover.

Where to find help on your campus

For Students at All U of T Campuses:

David L. MacIntosh Sports Medicine Clinic | 416-978-4678

If your concussion was caused by a sports injury, they can help you with assessment, medical management and treatment of your sports-related concussion.

 

St. George Campus Students

Health & Wellness Centre | 416-978-8030

Contact us to make an appointment for diagnosis, treatment suggestions and medical documentation. 

Accessibility Services | 416-978-8060

For help with the strategies and accommodations you may need for your academic studies due to difficulties caused by your concussion. 

 

Mississauga Campus Students

UTM Health & Counselling Centre | 905-828-5255 

For diagnosis, treatment suggestions, counselling and provide medical documentation.

UTM Accessibility Services | 905-569-4699 

For help with the strategies and accommodations you may need for your academic studies due to difficulties caused by your concussion.

 

Scarborough Campus Students

Health Services

For diagnosis, treatment suggestions, counselling and provide medical documentation.

UTSC AccessAbility Services | 416-287-7560 

For help with the strategies and accommodations you may need for your academic studies due to difficulties caused by your concussion.

Academic Advising & Career Centre 

To advise you regarding your academics and course related demands while you are recovering from your concussion.

stylized xray of a skeleton holding its head

Nicotine

Need some help quitting smoking? There’s no time like now to Leave The Pack Behind!

students at a leave the pack behind outreach table

Health & Wellness Tips

Health & Wellness Tips Webinar

The Health & Wellness Tips Webinar includes information about the benefits of physical activity, participation in campus activities, nutrition, quality sleep and stress management, and shows the variety of factors that contribute to the overall student experience. Website links are embedded to provide additional resources.

 

group of students in workout gear