Winter Term Health Update

Letter from Dr. David Harsha, DePauw Health Medical Director:

Dear DePauw Faculty, Staff and Students:

We are seeing a significant increase in illness on campus. Many are experiencing flu-like symptoms including cough, sore throat, body aches, fever, runny nose and fatigue that lasts several days. Some are experiencing vomiting and diarrhea.

For those with minor symptoms, we recommend an initial trial of home self-care measures targeted to the one or two symptoms that are bothering you most. Symptoms many times resolve in 2 or 3 days and don’t require an appointment. If minor symptoms persist, call for an appointment.

  • Low Grade Fever (<100.4) and body aches-try one of either Tylenol, Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve).
  • Sore throat pain-throat lozenges (Chloraseptic or Cepastat) or warm salt water gargles several times daily are helpful.
  • Nasal congestion-try over-the-counter Sudafed. The 24 hour pill is convenient as it is taken once a day.
  • Runny nose-antihistamines (Allegra, Zyrtec, or Claritin or their generic equivalents). Flonase may also help if antihistamines aren’t working.
  • Cough-try a product that contains Dextromethorphan such as Dayquil during the day and Delsym or Nyquil at night. Throat lozenges and honey may help as well.
  • Diarrhea-push fluids and try a BRATT diet (bananas, rice, apples, tea and toast). Lomotil is available over the counter and can help with controlling diarrhea).
  • Combination products are available that help with multiple symptoms. Ask your pharmacist for assistance if needed.

For those with significant vomiting or diarrhea, moderate to severe sore throat, difficulty swallowing, breathing difficulties or fever >100.4, please contact the health center for an appointment, especially if you have underlying chronic conditions such as asthma or diabetes. Go to the Emergency Room if breathing difficulties are severe. If you traveled recently and don’t feel well, call for an appointment.

We appreciate that when you are ill you want to be seen quickly in order to start your road to recovery. We care about your wait times and are working hard to keep them as short as possible. We have added appointment slots to help. If you make an appointment and your symptoms resolve before your appointment, please cancel the appointment so we may offer it to others.

Please remember to practice good hygiene with frequent hand washing, especially before meals.  Avoid sharing of towels, cups/glasses or utensils. Cough or sneeze into your sleeve and not your hands. Fist bump instead of hand shake! Drink plenty of fluids and get as much rest as possible when you are ill.