University Health and Counseling Services
Ambrose Center



UHCS provides direct care and self-care guidance for students with acute common illnesses. We offer flu vaccines during fall/early winter and strep throat and mono testing in-house. We also have a dispensary, which provides several medications that may be prescribed during a visit to help manage and treat respiratory infections.

From an Expert at UHCS:

Often it is difficult to sort through what's a "cold" and what's the "flu" and then know what to do about each of those. In general, they share similar symptoms and both affect the respiratory system, but are caused by different viruses. Typically, symptoms of a cold tend to be milder, including runny/stuffy nose, sore throat, cough, and sneezing. While colds are common, it doesn't mean that you should ignore it. Drink lots of fluids and see below (under "More Information") for self-care tips that target your specific symptoms so that you can feel better as soon as possible, but if you feel worse despite doing these things and especially if you note a fever of 100F or higher, severe pain, or breathing problems, call or set up an appointment to be seen urgently. Complications of a cold include sinus congestion or ear ache.

Influenza, commonly known as "flu," is more likely to make it nearly impossible to do usual activities - sometimes you may feel like you were "hit by a truck" and experience symptoms like fever of 100-102 degrees F, headache, general body aches, extreme exhaustion at onset of illness, and weakness. Complications of influenza include bronchitis or pneumonia, which could be severe or even life-threatening. If you have these symptoms, or if you have a fever of 100 degrees or greater, you should call UHCS or your health care provider immediately for further guidance. If you live in university housing, let housing staff know that you have flu-like symptoms so that you can be issued a surgical mask.

Remember, prevention of illnesses is important for your own health, as well as the health of others around you. Family members, friends, and fellow students, especially the very young and old, people with asthma or other chronic health problems rely on you to do your part to keep everyone healthy. Wash your hands (either soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer) every time you cough/sneeze/touch your hands to your face and get a flu shot every year (generally between late-September to early-March).

~ Liz Falk, MS, WHNP-BC

More Information:

WebMD - chart about the different symptoms that can help differentiate between a cold and the flu

UHCS Cold Self Care brochure self-care strategies for sore throats, runny/stuff nose, fevers, aches/pains, as well as symptoms to watch out for.

Updated 09/12/12


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This site is not meant to replace the advice of a health care or counseling professional. You should not rely on any information on these pages, or information generated for you by this site, to replace consultations with qualified professionals regarding your own specific situation. Some links take you to a source outside of UHCS. The owners of that site, not UHCS, are responsible for the content.