What to expect when you're infected: Student Health Center offers tips to stay healthy as classes startBy Dustin Ginsberg | 08/31/2015 4:59pm
Students should go to the Student Health Center at the first sign of illness. CW | Layton Dudley
Now imagine doing all of this while sick.
It will happen for most students sometime in their college career, but knowing warning signs and getting help right away can majorly cut down on the time and intensity of your illness. The most common illnesses among college students, according to David S. Brown, a nurse at the Student Heath Center, are the common cold, strep throat, sexually transmitted diseases and the flu. These diseases are all easily spread between people and can worsen over time.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, some of the best ways to avoid getting sick and spreading sickness are quite simple. Hand-washing is a must. Students touch thousands of surfaces a day, most of which are shared with others, such as desks, tables and door handles. The CDC also recommends that you should not share cups, silverware or straws with others, especially if you know they are sick. If you are already sick, the CDC recommends you stay home, cover your nose when you sneeze and avoid close contacts with others. The SHC also recommends that you eat a healthy diet, exercise and get a good night’s sleep to help keep your immune system up and fighting off infections.
Prevention is only half of preventing a serious illness. The other is to get help as soon as you don’t feel well. Many students don’t want to waste their time at the SHC and think the disease will go away on its own. That may be the case for some people, but for others not so much.
Emily Dickinson is a sophomore who pushed a doctor’s visit due to studying.
“I had a huge final coming up and I didn’t have time to go to the SHC,” Dickinson said. “My throat was itchy, but I thought it would go away.”
It didn’t. She had strep.
“By the time of my final, I could barely make it out of bed,” Dickinson said. “I had a high fever and swallowing hurt beyond belief.”
Brown also said an important part of visiting the SHC is being honest. Doctors aren’t there to get you in trouble. Leaving out vital information can cause a misdiagnosis.
It is also important to know the times and dates when the SHC is open.
“The majority of our provider time is set aside for the walk-in patients, however if you are an established patient you can call ahead and you will be given the next open slot, so you can then arrive 15 minutes before that time,” Brown said. “Walk-in wait times are always shorter in the early morning than at noon to late afternoon. The SHC is open Monday to Thursday from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. and Fridays from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Saturday/Sunday from 1-4 p.m. After 5 p.m. and on weekends the clinic is open for URGENT care patients only (acute sick and acute injuries).”
Brown listed items students should have with them when they arrive at the SHC.
“Students coming to the Student Health Center and Pharmacy should always bring their ACT card and Health Insurance Information,” he said. “The SHC does not turn away students because of inability to pay or because they do not have a health insurance plan.”
Catch your illness before it gets worse. If you don’t feel right, head over to the SHC.