When to Seek Care
Students should call or visit a health facility if they:
- Have any physical or mental health issue that they are concerned about
- Have a high fever (101 degrees fahrenheit or higher)
- Have pain when they urinate
- Have pain in their stomach or lower abdomen
- Have chest pain, trouble breathing, or a cough that won’t go away
- Have symptoms that seem significant or that last for more than one week, such as vomiting or diarrhea
- Need birth control or a test for a sexually transmitted infection (STI)
- Think they may have a sprain or a broken bone
- Are involved in an emergency such as a lab spill
- Are assaulted
- Are sad, depressed, anxious, or unable to sleep
Many colleges also have a counseling center which students should go to for mental health concerns.
“Anxiety is the most predominate and increasing concern among college students (50.6%), followed by depression (41.2%), relationship concerns (34.4%), suicidal ideation (20.5%), self-injury (14.2%), and alcohol abuse (9.5%)”
Where to Get Health Care
For most non-emergency situations, students should first seek care through campus-provided health services. Many campus health services offer a “Nurse Line” or consulting phone service to determine whether a health condition requires a visit or if home care may be sufficient. Students should take their temperature before calling a nurse line–that’s usually among the first questions the student will be asked.
Students will likely first be seen by a doctor or physician’s assistant who is a generalist–a medical professional who has a wide knowledge of medicine. At a campus health service, the medical staff will be especially aware of illnesses, injuries, and concerns that are most common among young adults The doctor will determine basic care and can provide treatment of most illnesses or injuries, but may refer the patient to a specialist if more intensive care is needed.
Urgent Care is the best option if the clinic or doctor’s office is not open (at night or on weekends) and if the situation is not life-threatening but requires immediate attention.
Emergency Room care is needed for conditions that come on suddenly and severely, require treatment that is only available in a hospital setting, or are life threatening.
A chart on this website will help identify whether Urgent Care or Emergency Room care is needed: Click Here
If students are seriously injured, ill, or feel that they or a friend is in danger, they should call for emergency assistance by dialing 911 on a cell phone or landline phone.