I have complex medical needs I'd like you to know about. How can I make this happen?
We strongly encourage any such student to make an appointment with one of our nurse practitioners shortly after arriving on campus to gather a history and discuss care plans. Sometimes such planning involves ensuring students are connected with local specialty and/or primary care resources such as endocrinologists, allergists, psychiatrists, etc. Advance time is valuable to have past medical records sent, coordinate needed referrals, sign releases of information and schedule specialist appointments. Please contactus so we can discuss your specific health concerns and how we might be able to help.
How can I stay healthy and avoid getting sick?
- Rest. Don’t skimp on sleep! Too little of it can make you feel stressed and depressed, you may have trouble concentrating on papers and tests, and you may have a hard time staying awake in class. You may also be more likely to catch colds and other minor illnesses. Your body can’t fight off germs as well when you are tired and run-down. Be sure to get about 7 – 9 hours a night whenever you can.
- Eat well. Vending machine or fast food can be quick and cheap when you are busy and on a budget, but eating well is important. It may require a bit of additional planning to eat a healthy vegetarian diet at college to make sure you get all of the nutrients you need.
- Eat fruits and vegetables every day (your goal should be 5 a day).
- Eat lean meats, fish and poultry.
- Eat foods high in calcium and low in fat.
- Limit junk food or foods with a lot of fat, sugar and salt.
- Limit sugary drinks like soda, sweetened tea or coffee, and sports drinks. Switch to plenty of water!
- These 3 types of exercise are a way to maintain a stronger immune system:
- Aerobic exercise strengthens your heart and lungs. These are activities like biking, running, fast walking, swimming, dancing, and rowing.
- Strengthening exercise tones and builds muscles and bone mass. You can do this by doing sit-ups, push-ups, and leg lifts, or by working out with weights or resistance bands.
- Stretching exercise, like yoga, improves flexibility or range of motion.
Don’t have the time to work out? Then try to sneak exercise into your day. Walk or bike to class rather than driving. Join an intramural sport or fitness class. Check out the campus gym.
- Handwashing. We use our hands far more than we realize throughout the day, coming in contact with millions of germs. To prevent colds and infections, it’s crucial to wash your hands thoroughly for 30 seconds with soap. Do this before eating or preparing food, after using the toilet, after coughing – sneezing – wiping your nose, after contact with those who are sick, and after touching animals, waste / litter or money.
Where can I go if I’m sick?
- Most illnesses seen on college campuses are treatable and usually not severe. It may surprise you that USM’s Health Services provides many services. You can make an appointment to be seen for various acute illnesses, and we also provide birth control, STI testing and treatment, smoking cessation, travel and other immunizations, lab services, free condoms and basic primary care.
What vaccinations are recommended before heading to college?
USM does have some immunization requirements that need to be met before you can register for classes. The requirements can be accessed on our Immunization Information web page. There are several other vaccines not required, but you may want to consider checking them out:
Flu vaccine – Each year about 10 – 20% of Americans get the flu. A new vaccine comes out every year.
Meningitis – The American College Health Association recommends all first-year students living in residence halls should receive this vaccine. Bacterial meningitis is extremely rare, but can be fatal. It’s vaccine-preventable.
Gardasil – HPV (Human Papillomavirus is the most common STD/I in the U.S. It causes genital warts and some types of cervical cancer. The three-doses series is given between the ages of 9 – 26.
I am an online-only student. Am I still required to submit proof of my immunizations?
Yes, you are still required to submit proof of immunizations. At this time, Maine state immunization laws do not make any provisions for exclusively online students.
How do I pay for Health Services?
Health Services will bill your health insurance, so please bring your insurance card to your appointment with you. Copays will be charged in accordance with the requirement of your health insurance plan. If an in house lab or medication is ordered that can not be charged to your insurance then the charge will be billed to you directly. Please follow the instructions on your bill to pay. If you need to pay by debit or credit card, please click HERE: https://secure.touchnet.com/C22921_ustores/web/store_main.jsp?STOREID=121&SINGLESTORE=true . Please have ready your name, Mainestreet ID number, invoice number, and invoice amount to process. Also, PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT OUR ONLINE PAYMENT SYSTEM DOES NOT ACCEPT DEBIT OR CREDIT CARDS ASSOCIATED WITH A HEALTH SAVINGS ACCOUNT (HSA).
What do I do if Health Services is closed and I need medical attention?
Health Services closes at 4:30PM on weekdays and is closed through the weekend. If a medical emergency occurs during these times, please call 911 or go to the closest emergency room.
Mercy Urgent Care at Gorham Crossing: 839-9101 until 8PM
Brighton First Care in Portland: 662-8111 until 8PM
Northern Light/Mercy Hospital ER in Portland: 879-3000
Maine Medical Center ER in Portland: 662-0111
If it is not an emergency, please call (207)780-5411 during office hours to speak to a live person in the office.