Worcester State University

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Self Help Tips

How can I tell if I'm getting a cold or the flu?
Colds and flu are the most frequent health complaints found on college campuses, and these are generally caused by viruses, NOT bacteria; so antibiotics won't help -- and there's still NO CURE!!  Symptoms of the common cold are localized in the head, and you may have sneezing, a runny nose, stuffy head, headache, sore throat, cough, or a hoarseness, fever below 100.5 degrees, and it can last from 7 to 10 days.  Flu includes many of the common cold symptoms and may also be accompanied by a tired feeling, body aches, and a fever above 100.5 degrees.

What to do for NasalCongestion? 
Try steam and hot drinks to help drainage.  Don't use decongestants for more than three days without consulting SHS or a physician.  Clear nostrils gently.  Blowing hard through one nostril, or while squeezing both nostrils nearly closed, may cause mucus to infect ears and sinuses.  SEEK HELP if mucus is yellow or green.

What if I have a Productive Cough?
A "productive cough" is one that clears mucus from the throat.  To make mucus easier to cough up, use a cough medicine containing an "expectorant," inhale cool mist or steam, or gargle with warm salty water.  If mucus is green, yellow, or bloody, SEEK HELP!

How do I know if I have a Genital/Urinary Infections?
These types of problems may or may not be related to sexual contact.  Individual counseling, examination, and treatment for these are available through SHS and are kept in the strictest confidence.

When It's "All in Your Head"
Muscular tension from stress accounts for 80% of all headaches.  Stress can be psychological (worry over grades, relationships, etc).  It may also be physical (reading while slumped in a chair, too much time at the computer, drinking too many caffeine-type liquids, eating too much chocolate, simply "overdoing it," etc.).  Headache pain is dull, steady, concentrated in the front or back of the head, or like a band around the head.  Try warm compresses, massage, relaxation, Tylenol, or other aspirin substitutes.

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