University Health and Counseling Services

Self Care Cold Supplies

Scratchy throat, runny nose, head feels like a balloon, low-grade fever, stuffy ears and sinus pressure, nagging cough . . .  the common cold and flu are caused by viruses. Each symptom gets worse the first few days, and then gradually improves over 7 – 14 days. If you get “stuck” in one phase, where a symptom keeps getting worse and worse instead of gradually improving, make an appointment with us or see your health care provider to make sure the cold or flu hasn’t become complicated by a bacterial infection that might require an antibiotic.

In the meantime our waiting rooms offer a couple over-the-counter solutions for the busy student who forgets to take something and needs some relief:

Pain Relievers (analgesics) are helpful for sore throat, headache and fever. We offer acetaminophen and ibuprofen.

Cough suppressants are helpful, especially at night. We have a few varieties of cough drops.

Adequate rest, 2-3 quarts of fluid/day, inhaling steam, saline nose drops, gargling with warm salt water, decongestants, vitamin C, and other self care methods may also help you feel better but won’t cure your cold or flu symptoms.

If any of the following symptoms arise seek further care;

  • High prolonged fever (above 101 degrees)

  • Ear drainage or an earache

  • Trouble breathing, shortness of breath, or chest pain

  • Severe pain in your face or forehead

  • Severe headache or neck pain

  • Symptoms that won't go away after 10-14 days

Prevent catching a cold or the flu by washing your hands frequently, eating healthy, exercising, and getting enough sleep. Any kind of stress, emotional or physical, lowers your resistance to infection. Having friends and being part of a group helps to improve your immune system.