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General Resources on Health and Illness

At the SHC, we see over 14,000 visits each year, often addressing a handful of common conditions and diseases. If you're wondering about common issues — from fatigue to rash or bronchitis — you're free to come in to ask questions, but may also want to explore online resources. One we can recommend is the Mayo Clinic website, which is used by health professionals as well as patients. It offers extensive information from the National Institutes of Health and the world's largest medical library, the National Library of Medicine. Information is provided in English and Spanish.

Feeling Sick with Cold Symptoms?

If you recently developed cold symptoms there are some helpful treatments that can be done at home prior to coming in for a visit.

Most common cold (a.k.a. “upper respiratory infection” or URI) symptoms should not be treated with antibiotics. If you think that you have a URI, here is a list of some common symptoms and possible remedies you can do at home:


Cold symptom and treatment list
Symptom Treatment
  • Acetaminophen (e.g.. Tylenol)
  • Ibuprofen (e.g.. Motrin or Advil)
  • Increase clear liquid intake
Body Aches
  • Acetaminophen
  • Ibuprofen
Sore Throat
  • Acetaminophen
  • Ibuprofen
  • Salt water gargles
  • Throat lozenges
  • Chloraseptic throat spray/drops
Nasal Congestion
  • Decongestant- Pseudoephedrine or Phenylephrine HCl. These medications can be found in a combination medication or alone in medications such as Sudafed. Remember, these medications may increase your heart rate or cause insomnia.
  • Saline nasal rinse or spray such as a Neti Pot.
  • Over the counter Afrin- This can be used for a short duration for relief. It should not be used for more than 3 days.
  • Humidifier or cool mist vaporizer
  • Steroid nasal sprays (e.g. Flonase)
Runny Nose
  • Antihistamines- Consider a non-drowsy medication like Claritin, Zyrtec, or Allegra.
  • Overnight, a more sedating medication such as Benadryl or Chlorpheniramine may be helpful, but some students find that they are still fatigued the next day! These medications are also often in a multi-symptom medication.
  • For a "wet"/productive cough: Expectorant- guaifenesin (Robitussin, Mucinex)
  • For a dry cough: Antitussive/cough suppressant : Dextromethorphan aka DM (Delsym)

Most of these symptoms are caused by a virus that will resolve in 5-7 days. If your symptoms are not improving after 10 days or are worsening after 5 days, then it is important to make an appointment at the Student Health Center for an evaluation.

WATCH OUT! - Many commercial cold and flu remedies contain a combination of different medicines. Read the ingredients to make sure that you are not “doubling up” on the amount of medication you should be taking. If you have any questions, ask the pharmacist.

If you think it's more than a cold please schedule an appointment at the Student Health Center for an evaluation.