• Wellness Center

  • Illness Prevention

    An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure... Let's start by trying not to get sick in the first place.

    Here are some of the things we provide to help you avoid the illnesses most common on a college campus:

    The Common Cold and the Flu

    Notice about Swine Flu

    The Difference Between a Cold and the Flu:
    The flu and a cold are both viral infections which commonly cause symptoms like coughing and sore throat. The flu is usually more severe than a cold and produces higher fevers along with aches and pains, possibly nauseau and vomiting.

    Prevention of Colds and Flu:
    You will never be able to totally prevent catching a cold or the flu, but you can lessen the chance. Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face. Keep your distance from people with the flu and avoid contact with people who have colds. Maintain a healthy lifestyle of good diet, enough sleep, keeping low stress levels and drink plenty of water. Influenza vaccines are also available at the Wellness Center.

    What is the Flu?
    The flu, also known as influenza, is a respiratory infection which is caused by type A and type B influenza viruses. The highly contagious flu viruses most commonly enters the body though mucous membranes in the mouth, nose, or eyes. The virus becomes airborne when a person with the flu coughs or sneezes and a person nearby can become infected. The flu generally hits 1-3 days after virus exposure with a sudden "I just got hit by a truck" feeling.

    Treatment of the Flu:
    Antibiotics are not effective at treating the flu because the flu is a virus and antibiotics only kill bacteria. However, during the first 24 hours of symptoms, there are new medications available to limit the duration and severity of the flu. Call the Wellness Center if you think you are "getting the flu" so you can get a jump start on treatment and use these new medicines. Rest is important in the treatment process. Drink plenty of fluids. The flu is contagious for 3 or 4 days after symptoms surface so be careful to avoid spreading it to others.

    What is a Cold?
    A "cold" is also known as a upper respiratory infection caused by any of over 200 viruses. These viruses attack and multiply in the cells in the nose and throat lining. Colds are more commonly spread through hand to hand contact than by coughing or sneezing. Touching a surface shortly after an infected person and then touching your eyes or nose can infect you.

    Treatment of a Cold
    Drink plenty of fluids. Hot liquids may soothe the throat and help loosen secretions which relieves nasal congestion. To help reduce throat swelling gargle a salt water mixture of teaspoon of salt in a large glass of warm water every four hours. Warm, moist air soothes mucous membranes that are inflamed. Humidifiers and hot showers are good ways to produce the desired moist, warm, air. Colds, like the flu, are viruses, so antibiotics are ineffective. If possible, avoid smoking and alcohol as both of these will only make you feel worse. If it is impossible to avoid them, use as little as possible.

    Caring for Your Flu/Cold Symptoms
    The Wellness Center will provide assessment and treatment for the common cold and flu -- come to us as soon as you think you've come down with something. However, we encourage you to bring a “Healthy Box” with you to ease these symptoms. Your box should include:

    • Tylenol/Motrin (your choice)
    • Band Aids
    • Daily Multivitamins
    • Hand Sanitizer
    • Cough drops/throat lozenges
    • Heating Pad
    • Microwavable chicken soup cans
    • Normal saline spray
    • Commonly used cold medicine
    • Tissues

    The Residence Director will have supplies for minor first aid, but you should provide your own over the counter medicines for the common cold. Use the Wellness Center to get an assessment and treatment recommendations.

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    Head Lice/Pediculosis

    • General overview about head lice
      Fight Head Lice with the Facts
    • How to comb out head lice
      The Spokane Regional Health District has a helpful video.

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    Nutrition Information

    Nutrition Services Available at the Wellness Center:

    • Basic nutrition plan and nutrition consults for treatment of various medical conditions
    • Calculation of basic metabolic rate (your caloric needs in relation to your activity level)
    • One on one support for weight modification or dietary modification for medical reasons (such as low cholesterol plan, diabetes, etc.)
    • Cholesterol testing each semester

    The Food Guide Pyramid
    We use the Food Guide Pyramid in assisting students craft a healthy diet plan. According to this system, within each of the four basic food groups a serving is:

    Bread, Cereal, Rice & Pasta Group
    1 slice of bread
    1/2 cup of cooked rice, pasta or noodles
    1/2 cup of cooked cereal
    1 ounce of ready-to-eat cereal
    1 flour or corn tortilla
    1/2 bagel, english muffin or pita pocket

    Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs & Nuts Group
    2 1/2 ounces of cooked lean meat, poultry or fish
    *Vegetarians can count 1/2 cup of cooked beans, 1 egg or 2 tablespoons of peanut butter as 1 ounce of lean meat

    Vegetable Group
    1 cup of leafy raw vegetables like lettuce or spinach
    1/2 cup of chopped raw or cooked vegetables
    3/4 cup tomato or vegetable juice

    Fruit Group
    1 piece of fresh fruit
    1 melon wedge
    3/4 cup of juice
    1/2 cup of canned fruit
    1/4 cup dried fruit

    Milk, Yogurt & Cheese Group
    1 cup of milk
    1 1/2 ounces of natural cheese
    2 ounces of process cheese
    1 cup yogurt, plain or fruited

    Reference: U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

    The keys to a healthy nutrition plan are balance, variety, and moderation!

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    Vaccines & Immunizations

    Ohio law requires all students living in residence halls to report to the University whether or not they have been immunized against Hepatitis B and Meningitis. Students are strongly encouraged to receive these vaccinations, but they are not required.

    Students who are enrolled in Nursing, Education, and Social Work programs will have internships which frequently require specific vaccines. These vaccines may be obtained at the Wellness Center for a fee.

    What is a Vaccine?
    Vaccines are preparations of killed or weakened infectious agents (such as viruses and bacteria) or their derivative products. Vaccines do not produce diseases. They actually stimulate an immune response which is the formation of antibodies against invading infectious agents. This process is call immunization. Immunization confers protection against future infections caused by what is used in making the vaccine.

    Students Requiring Allergy Injections
    Though not a vaccine or immunization, the Wellness Center can administer allergy immunotherapy prescribed by your home physician. Injections can be continued on a schedule established by your allergist or treating physician. Our guidelines require several pieces of documentation in order to accomplish this- the documentation sent with your student must include:

    • name, address, phone and fax number of treating physician
    • antigen injection schedule
    • antigen administration instructions- any routine or special instructions for our staff
    • instructions for missed doses and local/systemic reactions
    • date of last injection in physician's office
    • all allergy serum vials must bear label with patient name, serum strength, extract name, and expiration date

    We will require the above stated documentation for all patients receiving continuing allergy immunotherapy at the Wellness Center, without this documentation we cannot provide allergy injections. The initial injection should be given at your physician's office- the Wellness Center will not initiate immunotherapy.

    Vaccines Available at the Wellness Center:

    1. Influenza
      Influenza (See Cold & Flu on the Resource page) is an acute respiratory disease caused by an influenza virus. Influenza can be prevented by vaccination. Since virus strains change, the vaccination should be repeated yearly.
    2. Hepatitis A & B
      Hepatitis A and B are diseases which causes an inflammation of the liver. It can last about six months.
      • Hepatitis A is a highly contagious and sometimes fatal liver disease. It is spread primarily by the fecal/oral route, usually through person-to-person contact or through contaminated food or water. The incidence of Hepatitis A varies throughout the world. Person traveling to areas of higher endemicity for Hepatitis A should consider the vaccine. These areas include, but are not limited to, Africa, Asia, (except Japan), the Mediterranean basin, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Central and South America, Mexico and parts of the Caribbean. Hepatitis A can also be contracted through contact with the blood or body fluids of an infected person or animal.
      • Hepatitis B is a serious, life-threatening viral infection 100 times more contagious and easier to get than HIV. Hepatitis B is passed from person to person either directly from those already infected or indirectly from their bodily fluids. The hepatitis B virus can live for more than a week in dried blood or in bodily fluids on clothing or other surfaces.

        There are four common ways of contracting the disease. The first way is through the skin by way of cuts, scrapes, needle sticks or sharing needles. It also can be transferred through the eyes or mouth by exposure to blood or other bodily fluids. The third way is through sexual contact. Lastly, the disease can be passed through contact between an infected mother and her newborn child during birth and early infancy.

        According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adolescence and young adulthood are the periods with the highest hepatitis B risk. The best way to protect against the virus is to get vaccinated with a series of three shots over six months.
    3. Tetanus/DiphtheriaTetanus is a dangerous and often times fatal disease also known as "lockjaw." It may occur from any cut which allows the tetanus bacteria to enter your body. Diphtheria is a severe infection of the throat which is a rare disease, but threatens those people not immunized. To maintain protection, get a tetanus/diphtheria booster every 10 years.
    4. Meningitis (Meningococcal Disease)
      Meningitis is an inflammation of the linings of the brain and spinal cord caused by either viruses or bacteria. There are a number of varieties:
      • Viral meningitis occurs in late spring and summer and is more common than bacterial meningitis. Symptoms and signs of viral meningitis are stiff neck, headache, nausea, vomiting, and rash. Most cases of viral meningitis have a short, uneventful course and are not effectively treated by antibiotics.
      • Bacterial meningitis occurs rarely and sporadically throughout the year, although outbreaks tend to occur in late winter and early spring. Neisseria meningitidis or Streptococcus pneumoniae are the cause of most cases of bacterial meningitis in college-aged students.
      • Meningococcal meningitis can cause grave illness and rapidly progresses to death. Therefore, it requires early diagnosis and treatment. Unlike viral meningitis, people who have had intimate contact with a person who has meningococcal meningitis require prophylactic therapy. Untreated meningococcal disease can be fatal.
      Although the percentage of people carrying the bacterium may approach 95% during a meningococcal disease outbreak, less than 1% percent of the people develop meningococcal disease. A person's immune system and bacterial factors play a key role in the disease's development. The bacteria cannot live outside of the body for more than a few moments. It is not easily transmitted in water supplies or routine contact with an infected person. People who have had intimate contact with the oral secretions of a person diagnosed with meningococcal disease are at risk for contracting the disease and should receive prophylactic medication immediately. This contact can be through kissing, sharing eating utensils, and being exposed to droplet contamination from the nose or throat.

      A safe, effective vaccine is available to provide immunity to bacterial meningitis. This vaccine is recommended especially for persons 30 years of age or younger who are not pregnant. Because persons living in group situations are at risk the CDC recommends this vaccine for college students.
    5. Measles, Mumps, Rubella
      Measles, mumps, and rubella are viruses spread by coughing, sneezing, or talking. These diseases can have very serious results. Measles can cause serious complications like ear infections, inflammation on the brain, pneumonia, and even death. If you catch the measles, you must be isolated from others for periods lasting as long as 7 to 10 days. Mumps can result in hearing loss and in rare cases, sterility. Babies whose mothers have Rubella (which is also called German Measles or Three-day Measles) while in the early stages of pregnancy, run a moderate risk of being born with birth defects like loss of sight, of hearing, mental retardation, or heart disease.

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    Guidelines for TB Assessment and Treatment  

    Tuberculosis is a serious contagious infection which most commonly affects the lungs. There has been an increase in the number of cases among college students in recent years. The following guidelines describe how Franciscan University will normally handle and respond to tuberculosis risk assessment and treatment.

    Skin Testing  

    1. Prior to attending classes, incoming students are expected to complete a Tuberculosis (TB) risk assessment as part of their Confidential Health Record.
    2. Affirmative assessment results will require a TB skin test.
    3. Students may obtain this skin test at the Wellness Center and will be charged a fee for this service.
    4. Students with a medical/religious objection to the skin test may submit documentation of a negative chest X-ray.
    5. Students with a history of positive skin test must provide documentation of a negative chest x-ray within 1 yr. of entrance to the University and any past/current treatment plans for TB.
    6. In accordance with US Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, any student who has received bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccinations within 18 mos. will not be required to undergo this test.

    Positive Skin Tests  

    1. Any student who has a positive skin test will be required to provide documentation of chest x-ray results immediately to be able to stay on campus.
    2. Individuals with a negative chest x-ray will be referred for further medical evaluation of latent TB. Names of people with positive skin tests will be reported to the Jefferson Co. Department of Health per Dept. of Health (DOH) recommendations. The DOH will be the preferred referral site since the services are free of charge and it maintains the most up to date treatment recommendations. If the student is more inclined to follow up with a family doctor this is allowed also. A copy of all recommendations for treatment, along with documentation for completion of the treatment plan must be submitted to the University Wellness Center. Follow ups must be completed within 4 weeks of the positive skin test.
    3. Students failing to comply with medical recommendations for treatment or provide documentation of compliance will have a “hold” placed on their continued class attendance or participation in any University activity.
    4. Students who refuse recommended treatment after proper counseling will be required to have an annual chest x-ray and results must be submitted to the University Wellness Center prior to each academic year.
    5. Individuals with a positive chest x-ray will be referred immediately to the Dept. of Health as required by law. The Vice President for Student Life will be notified of the case. These individuals generally will not be permitted on campus for the first two weeks after beginning treatment. They will generally be permitted back on campus after the communicable period with documentation of completing appropriate treatment and with the approval of the Vice President for Student Life.

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