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COVID-19 Prevention and Wellness

Page last updated March 24 at 11:15 a.m.

Learn the facts about COVID-19 and how to prevent it.

What is COVID-19 and what are the symptoms?

  • Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause respiratory illnesses, like the common cold and pneumonia. COVID-19 is the disease caused by a novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.
  • Coronaviruses can cause the common cold and pneumonia. Most people infected with the novel coronavirus have mild cold symptoms. A small fraction of people, however, may require intensive care.
  • The respiratory symptoms of COVID-19 – fever, new cough, new shortness of breath, and/or a persistent scratchy throat – appear an average of 5-6 days after exposure, but may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Is there anything I can do to protect myself?

It is understandable to feel uncertain or anxious during a public health crisis, and we need to remember to avoid making assumptions about others' perceived symptoms or any characteristics of identity. Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent the novel coronavirus infection. The best way to prevent infection is to take precautionary steps.

Here are the current CDC recommendations to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:

  • Practice social distancing.
  • Avoid crowded places and close contact with sick people.
  • Stay home when you’re sick.
  • Try not to touch your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water (for 20 seconds) or hand sanitizer.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, like keyboards, phones, remote controls and door handles, and thoroughly wash glasses and utensils.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze — or use the crook of your arm — and throw the tissue in the trash. Then wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Get a flu shot.
  • Don’t travel to places with widespread or sustained community transmission of the coronavirus. Reliable travel information can be found on the CDC's travel advisory page.
  • Practice healthy habits: Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.

What if I develop flu-like symptoms?

  • If you’re mildly ill, we encourage you to stay home and contact your health care provider by phone for guidance about managing your illness.
  • If you have severe symptoms, such as difficulty in breathing, seek care immediately.
  • If you’re an older patient with underlying medical conditions or are immunocompromised, please contact your physician early in the course of even mild illness.
  • Students: Call Student Health Services at (858) 534-3300 for guidance and to determine if you need to be seen by a provider. You may also go to MyStudentChart and login with your Student AD to send a message to “Ask-a-Nurse.”
  • Faculty and staff: Seek medical care from your health provider. Be sure to call ahead so that the facility may plan ahead to minimize potential spread. Learn more on the Human Resources Guidance for Staff Employees and Supervisors website.

You can also find more information about the virus from these websites:


Learn about the coronavirus, how to remain healthy and tips for emotional wellness.

COVID-19 Prevention Downloadable Posters