It happens to us all; you wake up and get that dreaded feeling that something isn’t right.

Getting sick has always been a concern for students but now with COVID-19 cases amplifying, that concern is increasing, even for something as simple as the common cold.

Gonzaga University junior Sarah Merlino and some of her roommates recently caught symptoms of the common cold, and it was a very different experience from what you would expect from the past.

“I felt like it was just common for us to be stressed when we develop any symptoms,” Merlino said, “It’s just the fear of getting COVID is so real in our world now and I think my fear was higher because of that.”

GU understands this and has a multitude of resources for students who may be sick. The Health and Counseling Services (HCS) are readily available for GU students if they do not feel well.

“HCS has a triage of registered nurses who can visit with students and determine if self-care and staying put will do,” Director of Health and Counseling Services, Kristiana Holmes, said.

Holmes said that HCS providers can generally get students in the same day and are able to help with general illnesses, like the common cold.

HCS can also help provide students with medication when needed. They have a self-care store that sells over-the-counter medication and basic first aid. Prescription medication may also be available from their providers if appropriate.

But some students are unaware of the services that are available for them.

“I got tested before I went home about a month ago and there were all these things that I had no idea existed,” Merlino said.

When a student gets sick, the concern has shifted from focusing on the medication needed to treat the common cold to should they get tested for COVID-19 if they start to show symptoms like a sore throat.

Holmes said that a good first step in preventing illness this flu season is to take care of yourself which can happen in many ways. For some students it may be staying in your residence to do self-care. For some, there might be some uncertainty with the illness and calling HCS at 509-313-4052 can help provide better insight on their specific situation.

Students say that if there is one good thing to come for common illnesses from COVID-19, is that it has created a lot more flexibility for isolating and not missing classes or meetings.

Isolating due to the common cold is now possible because we try to treat everything as if it is worse than it is to avoid the worst.

“If you need to you can do classes in bed,” Merlino said, “You can do whatever circumstances feel right for you.”

Holmes said that using contactless delivery services and grocery delivery services are good options for students to receive food when trying to isolate.

If a student does test positive for COVID-19 then Gonzaga Dining Services can supply students with access to meal plans. This is available for both on and off-campus students.

It is important to think about others during a time like this. If you do find yourself displaying symptoms, let those that you have been in contact with know so they can be aware.

“Though this is a personal choice, it can help others around them take precautions and monitor for any symptoms they might experience themselves,” Holmes said.

Telling people about being sick isn’t something that solely is important for COVID-19. It is good practice for other illnesses like the flu or common cold that can be easily transmitted.

If a student believes that it is in fact COVID-19, another option is contacting a GU contact tracer through their COVID-19 hotline, 509-313-7070 ext. 1.

HCS is open Monday through Friday, located at 704 E. Sharp Ave.

Kaden Brookhouse is contributor. 

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