Primary and Acute Care

Primary care is the day-to-day, routine health care given by a health care provider. Acute care is short-term treatment for an injury or illness. Student Health Service (SHS) provides both routine health care, such as physical examinations, and acute care for a wide range of complaints, such as a sprained ankle.

If routine health care on campus is desired, it is recommended that students establish a primary care provider with one of our physicians or nurse practitioners.

You may call and make an appointment for issues such as birth control, women’s care, physicals, travel medicine, sexually transmitted infection screenings, and immunizations. Routine physical exams or gynecological appointments are generally scheduled 3-4 weeks in advance; travel consultations should be scheduled 4-6 weeks in advance.

Determining If You Need an Appointment

If you are unsure if you need to seek treatment, please call 773.702.4156 to speak with a nurse to help you determine if you should visit SHS for medical care. Many common ailments can be treated at home; see below for suggested remedies.

Most sore throats are caused by viruses and can be treated at home, without medical treatment. Often gargling warm salt water, taking ibuprofen or acetaminophen, and using a humidifier can provide pain relief. If your sore throat lasts more than seven days, you should make an appointment with SHS.

If you have injured yourself within the last 48 hours, the following may help:

  • Ibuprofen, which decreases inflammation
  • Acetaminophen can decrease pain but does not decrease inflammation
  • The RICE Treatment can be effective in reducing pain and minimizing swelling around the injury
    • Rest- Avoid activities that cause pain or discomfort
    • Ice- Ice the area immediately. Use an ice bag for 15 to 20 minutes each time and repeat every 2 to 3 hours when awake for at least 48 to 72 hours.
    • Compression- Wrap sprained area with an elastic bandage until the swelling stops. Do not wrap it too tightly or you may hinder circulation. Loosen the wrap if the pain increases, the area becomes numb, or swelling increases.
    • Elevation- Elevate the injured area above the level of your heart, especially at night.

If you have an upper respiratory infection, you may choose to take over-the-counter cold, flu, and sinus remedies, which may provide temporary relief from symptoms, but will not make the infection go away.

To get rid of the infection, make sure you get plenty of rest. Also, if possible, get a humidifier to help relieve symptoms.

If you symptoms get worse or last longer than two weeks, make an appointment at SHS.

You may have the flu if you have some or all of these symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Sometimes diarrhea or vomiting

Most people with the flu have a mild illness and do not need medical care or antiviral drugs. If you get sick with flu symptoms, in most cases, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people except to get medical care. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, except to get medical care or for other things you have to do and no one else can do for you. If you must leave home, wear a face mask if you have one or cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue.

If you have symptoms of the flu and are very sick, contact SHS at 773.702.4156 and ask to speak with a nurse.

If you have the flu and experience any of the following symptoms, go to the nearest emergency room:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough

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