By: Health & Counseling Services
It’s that time of year again. Snow and cold temperatures outside, lots of sniffling and sore throats inside. We always hope to avoid getting sick during cold and flu season, but here are a few tips, just in case.
Help guide, but let them decide
While they may not feel well, this is a learning experience for our students. It is a good opportunity for them to learn how to assess their own wellness and start making decisions about what steps to take. Guide them through the decision-making process by asking them questions about their illness. For example:
What signs and symptoms are they experiencing?
How long have they been ill?
What have they done to relieve their symptoms?
Do they feel like they need to be seen immediately or do they want to wait a day or two (like you might with a common cold)?
Make sure they’re prepared
We recommend having a thermometer, a pain reliever (like Tylenol or ibuprofen), tissues, and cough drops on hand during this time of year. If students don’t have those items, they can purchase over the counter medications and other supplies at Health & Counseling Services (704 E. Sharp). Or, family and friends can purchase these items for students to pick up via our Self-Care Store.
We also recommend the flu vaccine to help fight off the flu virus. We are seeing higher than usual levels of influenza in the Spokane area thus far in the flu season, so every little bit helps to prevent getting the flu.
A gentle reminder about the importance of washing hands and not touching their face/mouth also helps. Students spend a lot of time in very public spaces like our student centers, classrooms, residence halls, and dining halls. Our custodial services team does a great job of cleaning these spaces and paying good attention to things like doorknobs and handrails, but washing your hands is the best way to prevent illness.
Know what Gonzaga resources are available to support them
There are many resources available to support students when they are ill.
Gonzaga University Health & Counseling Services has Board-Certified Family Medicine physicians and nurse practitioners available Monday-Friday, 8a – 5p (Thursdays 10a-5p). We can see students for all illnesses and provide treatment or transfer them to a higher level of care if there is reason to suspect a more concerning medical condition, such as appendicitis. Students can always walk in and consult with a nurse for free. If they don’t know what to do, our nursing team can help answer questions and get them on the right care plan. Health Rides are available evenings and weekends for urgent care visits. These rides can be arranged by calling 509-313-5878. We will help transport students via taxi cab to a local urgent care provider.
Resident Assistants (R.A.s) are always a great resource when students aren’t feeling well. Often times, being sick away from home is an emotional experience. R.A.s are a great resource to turn to for a little extra support or to remind students about resources available on campus.
Academics are important—but so is rest and recuperation!
One of the things we see most consistently with our dedicated Zags is a fear of missing class due to illness. Their commitment to their academics is a great quality, but it is important to stay home and rest when they are not feeling well. This also helps us prevent the spread of illness.
Encourage them to communicate with their professors if they are sick. As long as the student hasn’t missed a lot of class, professors are usually very reasonable about staying out of class when students are ill. They don’t want to get sick, either!
If your student still isn’t sure or has concerns regarding missing class, they should reach out to their academic advisor.
Send some love!
Parents, friends, and family are such a wonderful support system for our Zags. When they aren’t feeling well, a few words of encouragement go a long way. Consider sending your student a card or a small care package to keep their spirits up.