CHWS gives health advice for students as flu season approaches

As the colder months approach, the importance of preventing infectious illness around campus resurfaces. Counseling, Health and Wellness Services here at Puget Sound offers a wide variety of resources for staying healthy and treating illnesses.

At a university of about 2,600 students, it is important to decrease the possibility of being infected and infecting others by taking precautions against spreading illnesses. CHWS recommends a variety of approaches for students to remain healthy while on campus.

“Basically, the best way to help prevent yourself from getting sick is a lot of hand-washing, and not sharing items that come into contact with other people’s bodies, especially eating and drinking items,” Jenifer Gillis, Associate Director and Medical Coordinator at CHWS, said.

Getting a flu shot is also a good form of prevention. CHWS will be holding “Flu shot clinics” Friday, Oct. 17 from 1 to 4:30 p.m.

This is a drop-in time where students can fill out medical paperwork, pay the $25 fee and receive their flu shot.

To get a flu shot at a different time, students may make an appointment with CHWS.

Other ways to decrease the risk of contracting an illness include avoiding sharing toothbrushes, drinks and dining utensils. It is also helpful to make sure that immunizations are up-to-date, take antibiotics only when prescribed and finish taking them when needed.

“If someone has a cough or is sneezing, they should be encouraged to cover their mouth and nose with the inside of their elbow, which helps prevent airborne particles from reaching others around them,” Gillis said.

If a student has symptoms that have the potential to spread to others easily, they should stay home.

They should not attend classes if they experience vomiting, diarrhea or a fever.

In combination with CHWS’s recommendations, students can also help aid the recovery from and prevent illnesses by living a healthy lifestyle.

“Take over-the-counter cold medicine and try to eat healthy and get lots of sleep,” senior Kaari Selven said.

If symptoms persist, students can make an appointment with CHWS.

There are three registered physician assistants, a CHWS consulting physician, as well as a registered nurse to see students during their appointment.

“I just had a general cold for about a week. Nothing too bad, but with papers and tests it seemed a lot worse,” senior Lexie Gallegos said. “I didn’t go to CHWS this time, but I have in the past. When I was living in the dorms I would stop by CHWS for cold medicine.”

CHWS also offers a self-help station, where bandages, ibuprofen, condoms and Polysporin ointment are always available. If an appointment is needed, a fee of $25 is required.

“The fee is a little frustrating but that’s also how it is in real life so I think it’s justified,” senior Abby Mattson said.

Students living on and off campus can find help at CHWS as well as seek help at off-campus resources such as MultiCare Urgent Care Clinic on Pearl Street and the three other emergency rooms in the Tacoma area.

“I know if I go to CHWS I could get antibiotics but I don’t want to go to them very often unless it’s actually very serious,” Selven said. “They are good for prescription medication but for colds and mild sickness I don’t think it’s worth it to go in every time you get sick.”

Students can make an appointment with CHWS by calling (253) 879-1555 or stopping by room 216 on the second floor of Wheelock.

One of the receptionists at the front desk will scheduls the appointment depending on the availability of CHWS staff members.