Important Information from Medical Director David Harsha, MD

Dear DePauw Students, Faculty and Staff

We are seeing an increase in viral illness around campus. Common symptoms include a sore throat, nasal congestion, mucous going down the back of the throat and coughing up phlegm. These symptoms can last from 1-3 week. Most people do not have fever.

If your symptoms match the above, we recommend an initial trial of self-care measures targeted to the one or two symptoms that are bothering you most.

  • Fever and body aches – Try one of either Tylenol, Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve). For sore throat pain, throat lozenges (Chloraseptic or Cepastat) or warm salt water gargles are helpful.
  • Nasal congestion – Try over-the-counter Sudafed. The 24 hour pill is convenient as you only have to take it once a day.
  • Runny nose – Taking an antihistamine (Allegra, Zyrtec, or Claritin or their generic equivalents) is a helpful approach to try. Flonase may also help if antihistamines aren’t working.
  • Cough – Try Mucinex or Dayquil during the day and Delsym or Nyquil at night. Throat lozenges and honey may help as well.

Combination products are available that help with multiple symptoms. Ask your pharmacist for assistance if needed.

Follow up if you are not improving in 5-7 days. See us as soon as possible for severe sore throat, difficulty swallowing, breathing difficulties or high fever. We need to see anyone with underlying chronic conditions such as asthma or diabetes sooner rather than later. Go to the ER if breathing difficulties are severe.

Please remember to practice good hand hygiene with frequent hand washing, especially before meals. Cough or sneeze into your sleeve and not your hands. Drink plenty of fluids and get as much rest as possible when you are ill.

David Harsha, MD
DePauw Health Medical Director
and the DePauw Health Center Staff