Students can help stave off colds and the flu

By Sondra Stipcak, Director of Health Services

With cough and cold season in full swing, Lycoming College’s health care staff offers several strategies for helping students avoid colds and the flu.

  • Wash hands thoroughly and frequently
  • Keep your living quarters clean by wiping surfaces, door knobs, etc. with a household disinfectant like Lysol or Clorox wipes
  • Don’t share personal items such as drinking glasses, eating utensils, etc.
  • Keep your immune system strong with adequate sleep and proper nutrition
  • Get an annual flu shot

Even with these precautions, we have seen an increase in visits to our campus health care center early this semester for students with sore throats, nasal congestion and the flu. When students seek our assistance, we provide them with a thorough medical evaluation and appropriate guidance for follow-up. Fortunately most colds, sore throats, coughs and even the flu can be managed in their rooms. Remind your son or daughter about the types of products and interventions you typically find effective. Some interventions may include:

  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Get extra rest
  • Tylenol or Advil (or comparable generic brand) for fever, aches and pain
  • Robitussin DM (or comparable generic brand) for coughs

We encourage students with concerns about their symptoms to seek medical care. The Lycoming Health Center, which is open during normal business hours, is a great place to start as there is no charge to speak with a nurse or see a medical provider. Laboratory tests, however, such as those for the flu, strep and mono, will incur a charge, so parents should review their insurance coverage with their child.

After hours options include two urgent care centers in Williamsport — Med Express and Geisinger Care Works — as well as the Williamsport Medical Center Emergency Department. Help your child understand the difference in charges and co-pays when using these off-campus options. For most health issues, urgent care centers are a reasonable and less costly choice than the emergency room. Once again checking with your insurance plan is recommended.

Family members and students with additional questions are always welcome to contact the health center at 570-321-4052.