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This information pertains to students only. Smith employees can learn more by visiting Human Resources.

Upper Respiratory Infections

An upper respiratory infection (URI) is inflammation in the sinuses, nose, throat, larynx, and pharynx and is most often caused by over 200 common cold viruses. Sometimes, but much less frequently, it can be caused by a bacterial infection or the influenza virus. Adults and adolescents typically have two to four colds per year, and certain infections tend to happen more often during specific times of the year. Most of the time, URIs can be managed at home. Most upper respiratory infections last 7–10 days and a cough can linger for several days longer than that. Antibiotics will not treat cold viruses and can contribute to the serious and growing problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Tiredness/fatigue
  • Achy muscles
  • Chills
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea or diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pink Eye
  • Cold sweats

If you have an upper respiratory infection:

Rest: Avoid close contact with others and non-essential activities. Raise your head while sleeping.

Hydrate: Drink 8 oz of water or hydration fluid every hour that you are awake.

Tea: Drink warm, non-caffeinated teas to soothe irritated tissues and stay hydrated.

Honey: Honey can soothe an irritated throat and help your cough.

Salt: Gargle with warm salt water several times a day to soothe and cleanse a raw throat.

Cough drops: Allow drop to melt in your mouth to soothe an irritated throat and calm cough reflex.

Consume foods with vitamin C: such as citrus fruits, peppers, strawberries, broccoli, or potatoes.

Over the counter medications: Tylenol can help with minor discomfort, body aches, and headache. Cough syrup can help ease cough. Antihistamines like Zyrtec can help with nasal congestion and sinus pressure. Always check with the pharmacy for interactions with medicines you are taking and read medication labels carefully.

Saline nasal spray: Rinses the nasal passages and throat, can reduce the duration of a sinus infection.

All of the prevention strategies described in this guidance can be helpful to reduce the risk of getting sick. They are especially helpful when:

CDC recommends that all people use core prevention strategies. These are important steps you can take to protect yourself and others from getting sick.


  • For most people that means getting a current flu and COVID-19 vaccine.
  • If you have questions about where to get vaccinated, call the Schacht Center or email


  • Covering your coughs and sneezes limits the spread of germs to protect others.
  • Handwashing with soap removes germs from your hands, making them less likely to infect your respiratory system when you touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • If soap and water are not available, using a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol can kill these germs.
  • To remove germs and dirt on surfaces, use household cleaners that contain soap or detergent.

Cleaner Air

  • Open windows and doors to promote movement of fresh air, and move activities outdoor when feasible.



  • Masking is optional and welcomed everywhere on campus.
  • Please be supportive of those who choose to wear a mask.
  • Masks are encouraged when you are sick.
  • Masks are required if you are sick and visiting a provider at the Schacht Center.

Physical Distancing

  • Avoid being near someone who has respiratory virus symptoms.
  • Avoid crowded areas where you may be unable to maintain physical distance.


  • COVID tests are available at local pharmacies. For help finding a COVID test, you can search online.
  • Viral testing is a useful tool for individuals who are at high risk for severe disease since it may guide treatment recommendations. If you are immunocompromised or have been identified as a person at risk for high-risk disease who may benefit from treatment for respiratory viruses, call the Schacht Center at 413-585-2800 to speak with a provider.

Preventing Spreading a Virus When You’re Sick

When you may have a respiratory virus...‎

  • Stay home and away from others if you have respiratory virus symptoms that aren't better explained by another cause. These symptoms can include fever, chills, fatigue, cough, runny nose, and headache, among others.
  • You can go back to your normal activities when, for at least 24 hours, both are true:
    • Your symptoms are getting better overall, and
    • You have not had a fever (and are not using fever-reducing medication).
  • When you go back to your normal activities, take added precaution over the next 5 days, including  hygiene, masksphysical distancing, and/or testing.
    • Keep in mind that you may still be able to spread the virus that made you sick, even if you are feeling better. You are likely to be less contagious at this time, depending on factors like how long you were sick or how sick you were.
    • If you develop a fever or you start to feel worse after you have gone back to normal activities, stay home and away from others again until, for at least 24 hours, both are true: your symptoms are improving overall, and you have not had a fever (and are not using fever-reducing medication). Then take added precaution for the next 5 days.

If you never had symptoms but tested positive for a respiratory virus, you may be contagious. For the next 5 days: take added precaution, such as taking additional steps for cleaner airhygienemasksphysical distancing, and/or testing when you will be around other people indoors. This is especially important to protect people with factors that increase their risk of severe illness from respiratory viruses.

Support for students who are immunocompromised and/or need accommodations for a disability:

  • Visit the Accessibility Resource Center (ARC) to find more information about our services.
  • Feel free to contact ARC to discuss options with a team member and to request accommodations.


CDC offers separate, specific guidance for healthcare settings (COVID-19, flu, and general infection prevention and control). Federal civil rights laws may require reasonable modifications or reasonable accommodations in various circumstances. Nothing in this guidance is intended to detract from or supersede those laws.