Between the lack of sleep, poor diet choices, hours of studying, late night partying and millions of germs, it can be difficult for college students to stay healthy. It seems somebody is always suffering from the common “college cold.” CL checked in with Binghamton University Health Services Center’s, Deena Serebrani, Registered Nurse, to find out how college students can stay healthy year round.
College Lifestyles: What are the most common illnesses and situations you see at the health center?
Deena Serebrani: The main issues we see are upper respiratory illnesses, which includes colds and sore throats, GI issues, stomach issues, such as stomach bugs, female gynecological issues, and even emotional issues.
CL: What general advice would you give to college students to stay healthy?
DS: I recommend washing your hands, eating healthy and getting plenty of rest.
For tips on eating healthy, check out Meg Dowell’s article, How to: Eat to Beat a Cold
CL: When would you say that students should actually make a visit to the health center?
DS: If a student has a fever and he/she has taken Tylenol or Ibuprofen and the fever is not going down, for 24 hours, the student should come to the health center. He/she should try resting for a full day, drinking clear fluids, eating a light diet and taking Ibuprofen. If the student’s fever is higher than 101 for more than a day, a trip to the health center is necessary. For any illness, if symptoms get worse after trying to cure themselves for 24 hours, we recommend coming to the health center. As far as emotional issues, if a student feels he may hurt himself or somebody else, he should come in. If a student is experiencing female issues, and realizes something is not right, such as burning when urinating or horrible discharge, she should come in right away.
CL: What do you recommend all students should keep in their dorms and apartments as a first aid kit?
DS: A thermometer, some kid of fever or pain reducer such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen, band aids, some kind of antibiotic ointment, basic cough syrup, and cough drops.
CL: When should a student go to the ER or acute care versus a school health center?
DS: The Health Services Center is not open on the weekends so students should go to the emergency room if they feel they cannot care for themselves, they have difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, they feel faint or dizzy, or if they have a fever they cannot control.
CL: What are the common symptoms and illnesses you see this time of year?
DS: We see a lot of upper respiratory infections such as colds, sore throats, bronchitis, the flu and asthma problems.
Serebrani recommends students wash their hands constantly, drink plenty of fluids, specifically water, eat healthy, get plenty of rest, and dress appropriate for the weather. She says to try to take care of your body by remembering these basics. College life can be rough at times and these cold winter post holiday days could have many of us feeling down. Be sure to read Top 5 Ways to Treat Yourself for ways to get in some relaxing, down time. Having some relaxing time for yourself could help prevent you from catching a cold. Also, be sure to check out How to: Beat the Post Holiday Blues to keep your emotional and mental health in check post-holiday season. In the middle of these frigid, gloomy, winter days CL hopes that you follow this advice to keep yourself healthy and in turn, have a fabulous spring semester.