It seems as if anywhere you go on Temple’s campus a guaranteed sniffle and cough will await one’s arrival. That can only mean one thing: the dreaded cold season.
I recently chatted with Dr. Maria Pellecchia from Temple’s Student Health Services to seek some rewarding tips on the common cold.
What seems to be what most Temple students are sick with?
The vast majority of our Temple students are visiting Student Health with colds. These symptoms include a combination of coughing, stuffy nose, runny nose, sore throats, and head congestion.
What should Temple students do in order to get over their sickness?
It is important to understand that there is NO cure for a cold. Antibiotics DO NOT cure the common cold. But there are some remedies that might help ease some symptoms and keep the person to feel better, but symptoms can often linger 1-2 weeks.
If a student is asthmatic or immune compromised or if experiencing worsening symptoms, they need to come in for an evaluation quickly.
The helpful suggestions include:
- Stay hydrated. Water, juice, clear broth or warm tea with honey help loosen congestion and prevent dehydration. Avoid alcohol, coffee and caffeinated sodas, which can make dehydration worse.
- Rest. Your body needs to heal.
- Soothe a sore throat. A saltwater gargle — 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt dissolved in an 8-ounce glass of warm water — can temporarily relieve a sore or scratchy throat. Swish and Spit out about 3 times a day.
- Combat stuffiness. Over-the-counter saline nasal drops and sprays can help relieve stuffiness and congestion.
- Relieve pain. Take either acetaminophen or ibuprofen according to package directions.
- Sip warm liquids. A cold remedy used in many cultures, taking in warm liquids, such as chicken soup, tea, or warm apple juice, might be soothing and might ease congestion by increasing mucus flow.
- Add moisture to the air. A cool mist vaporizer or humidifier can add moisture to your home, which might help loosen congestion. Change the water daily, and clean the unit according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Don’t use steam, which hasn’t been shown to help and may cause burns.
- Try over-the-counter (OTC) cold and cough medications. For adults, over the counter cold meds might offer some symptom relief. However, they won’t prevent a cold or shorten its duration, and most can some side effects.
- NO smoking and avoid secondhand smoke.
- If not improving or symptoms worsen, a student must come in for an evaluation.
What are ways a student can prevent themselves from getting sick?
Unfortunately the common cold is very common. We recommend frequent hand washing using soap, avoid sharing drinks and dressing weather appropriately.
What is your advice for freshmen that are sick away from home for the first time?
It is very common for freshmen students to get sick. Often it is from a change in environment, a flare of their underlying seasonal allergies, accompanied by exposure to many students. It is important to understand that these symptoms often can linger 1-2 weeks. Over the counter cold medications may be helpful. If someone is asthmatic or immune compromised or if not improving, they should visit Student Health Services for an evaluation.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit the Student Health Services building on 1810 Liacouras walk or visit their website.