Infectious Diseases Information


How do I best prepare to avoid respiratory illnesses? 

The best way to avoid feeling unwell whether due to allergies, the flu, or potentially COVID, is to practice good, healthy habits.  Frequent handwashing and use of hand sanitizer is strongly encouraged.  Eating healthy meals and exercising are also good habits.  You should also take advantage of available vaccinations (both flu and COVID) to remain healthy.  

Be prepared for any illness by having tissues, over-the-counter medicines, snack food and beverages and a supply of masks available. 

How Respiratory Viruses Spread 

Respiratory viruses are mainly spread through breathing in droplets coming from an infected person coughing, sneezing, and sometimes simply talking. These droplets can land on the mouths or noses of healthy people nearby and start an illness for them. Additionally, touching a surface that has been contaminated with droplets and then touching your eyes, mouth, or nose can also spread the infection. Which is why we recommend masking and practicing good hand hygiene! 


Common Symptoms of Respiratory Illnesses: 

Illness Cold RSV Flu COVID
Onset Gradual Gradual Sudden Usually, gradual
Fever Uncommon, mild Common Very common, Severe Common
Headache Very common N/A Common Very Common
Body aches Mild N/A Very common Common
Fatigue/tiredness Mild Moderate Severe Moderate
Stuffy nose/ sneezing Very common Very common Common Very common
Sore throat Very common Uncommon Common Very common
Vomiting/Diarrhea Uncommon Uncommon Common Very common
Incubation Period 1-3 days after exposure 4-6 days after exposure 1-4 days after exposure 2-14 days after exposure
Duration  Up to 1-2 weeks 10-14 days Up to 7 days 2-14 days
Contagiousness 1-2 days before symptoms.

Up to 2 weeks with symptoms.

1-2 days before symptoms.

3-8 days with symptoms.

1 day before symptoms.

Up to 4 days with symptoms.

2-3 days before symptoms.

Up to 7 days with symptoms.


* Please note LVC Health Center does not screen for flu or RSV, see your local urgent or express care center or family doctor for testing.


What should I do if I feel sick? 

You should do your best to self-isolate, wear a mask when in groups or close contact with others, and practice good hand hygiene. You may drop self-isolation after symptoms are improving or fever is gone for 24 hours without using fever reducing medication such as Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Advil (ibuprofen). We do highly encourage the use of a mask if still exhibiting any symptoms to slow the spread of illness to others.  

Additionally, see the resources below for prevention of transmission, how to keep you and those around you healthy, and when to seek medical care.  

When Should I Seek Medical Care?  

If you have a chronic medical condition that would make the illness worse such as lung, heart, or other conditions it is important that you see a medical professional at the earliest signs of symptoms.  

When should I contact the Health Center via MyLVC? 

  • You have flu symptoms and are within 48 hours of symptom onset as you may be a candidate for antiviral medication. If it is a weekend, seek urgent care.  
  • A fever of 103 degrees or a fever over 100.4 that lasts over 3 days continuously. 
  • If your cough lasts more than 2-3 week and is not starting to resolve or is worsening. 
  • Shortness of breath or chest tightness/pain  
  • Vomiting or diarrhea 

When should I seek treatment through an urgent care? 

  • If you have any symptoms listed above and the Health Center is not open. 
  • Shortness of breath or chest tightness/pain that is not due to coughing.
  • Vomiting that lasts over 48 hours or is accompanied by signs of dehydration.  
  • More than 10 episodes of diarrhea that are accompanied by signs of dehydration.  

When and how should I seek emergency medical treatment? 

  • Severe chest pain 
  • Trouble breathing 
  • Severe dehydration

Contact Campus Safety at 717-867-6111 and/or call 911.


Preventing Seasonal Respiratory Viruses  

Vigilant handwashing during peak months (December–March)  

  • Before eating.  
  • Before removing or applying contact lenses  
  • After being in large crowds (church, grocery store, mall, gym, college campus, etc.)  
  • After blowing nose or coughing  
  • Before and after touching mouth, nose, eyes  

A great way to prevent the flu and COVID is to get vaccinated each season.  Research suggests both the current flu and COVID vaccines will protect against the strains that will be most common for the year.  

Regularly clean your cell phone and handheld appliances with antibacterial wipes.   

  • If you live or work in a heavily traveled area, regularly wipe down doorknobs, counters, and light switches with antibacterial wipes.  
  • Objects you clean with antibacterial wipes should be left to air dry. Do not dry with a towel or cloth.  
  • Cover your sneeze or cough (use elbow or tissue rather than bare hands, avoid hankies or reusable tissues).  
  • Listen to your body – if you are sick and overly tired or fatigued, you need rest.  
  • Have hand lotion on hand for all the hand washing you are doing!  


Boost your immune system by: 

  • Eating a well-balanced diet  
  • Getting plenty of sleep  
  • Avoiding stress as it can make you more vulnerable to illness.  
  • Exercising regularly  
  • Stop smoking as it damages your airway and makes it more vulnerable to viruses. 
  • Use a humidifier during the winter season when the air is dry. 

Information and Resources on the Web

Know the symptoms: Measles a very contagious, viral, respiratory infectionSymptoms include:

  • rash (a characteristic red, blotchy rash that appears on the face then spreads body-wide in days 3 through 7 after symptom onset)
  • fever, often 101ºF (38.3ºC) or higher
  • cold symptoms (cough, runny nose, watery eyes)
  • if you suspect you may have measles stay home and call your family doctor for instructions.  Do not attend school, work or social engagements! 

Know your immunity status: All persons should have two doses of measles vaccination.  Special populations that should have conversations with a doctor about their immunity status include:

  • Those born after 1956 and have not received two doses of effective measles vaccine
  • Those vaccinated with an inactivated vaccine, which was used from 1963 through 1967
  • Those who plan on becoming pregnant in the near future
  • Those who use medications to lower their immune system including oral or inhaled steroid medications, or chemotherapy.  Conditions such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, cancer, organ and stem cell transplant, psoriasis or inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s are often treated with immune suppressive drugs
  • Treatment may include booster vaccination or a blood test to confirm immunity

Know your risk: If you fall under any of the following you may have increased risk for contracting measles.  Please discuss your risk with your doctor.  

  • Work in healthcare or place with residential living
  • Previously declined vaccinations due to religious or philosophical reasons
  • Will be traveling internationally or visiting an area with an on-going measles outbreak (access the CDC’s website for current info on outbreak trends)
  • Fall into any of the following susceptible group categories: newborns, persons who use medications to lower their immune system including oral or inhaled steroid medications, or chemotherapy.  Conditions such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, cancer, HIV/AIDS, organ and stem cell transplant, psoriasis or inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s are often treated with immune-suppressive drugs.
  • Vaccine assessment tool, take a brief quiz to determine your risk for measles:

Symptoms: can include fever, sore throat, headache, back pain, achy muscles, and fatigue followed by a rash. Cases that have occurred in the US do not always have systemic symptoms and can present with rash. Rash looks like red raised bumps, dimpled bumps and/or blisters. In the US, this has commonly been located in the genital area but can occur in other locations. Rash can be painful or itchy. After 7-14 days the rash will crust, dry up and then fall off.

Timeline: incubation period of 3-17 days. Illness lasts 2-4 weeks.

Transmission: close personal skin-to-skin and intimate contact

Testing and treatment are available.

Please contact Shroyer Health Center if you have concerning symptoms and we will provide additional guidance. Remember appointments must be scheduled.

Visit the CDC website for additional information.

For travelers going to these designated areas, (Florida and Gulf states, Mexico, South America, Caribbean Islands, Hawaii) be aware of the emergence of mosquito-borne infections and ways to prevent illness.

The best way to prevent mosquito-borne illnesses such as, Zika virus infection, Dengue fever, or chikungunya is to:

  • Avoid mosquito bites.
  • Use air conditioning or window and door screens when indoors.
  • Mosquito netting for sleeping, especially if windows are open.
  • Wear long sleeves and pants, and use insect repellents when outdoors. Most repellents, including DEET and all Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents, can and should be used for all ages, male/female, including pregnant and lactating women according to the product label.
  • Sexual contact with infected individuals could result in blood-borne Zika virus, condoms are necessary!
  • No vaccine or preventive drug is available.