Skip to Main Content
Brooks College of Health

Medical Self Help Information


For information on this topic from the Mayo Clinic, please click the following: Colds


Sneezing, scratchy throat, runny nose-everyone knows the first signs of a cold, probably the most common illness known. Although the common cold is usually mild, with symptoms lasting 1 to 2 weeks, it is a leading cause of doctor visits and missed days from school and work. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 22 million school days are lost annually in the United States due to the common cold.

In the course of a year, people in the United States suffer 1 billion colds, according to some estimates.

Children have about 6 to 10 colds a year. One important reason why colds are so common in children is because they are often in close contact with each other in daycare centers and schools. In families with children in school, the number of colds per child can be as high as 12 a year. Adults average about 2 to 4 colds a year, although the range varies widely. Women, especially those aged 20 to 30 years, have more colds than men, possibly because of their closer contact with children. On average, people older than 60 have less than one cold a year.


The Viruses

More than 200 different viruses are known to cause the symptoms of the common cold. Some, such as the rhinoviruses, seldom produce serious illnesses. Rhinoviruses (from the Greek rhin, meaning "nose") cause an estimated 30 to 35 percent of all adult colds, and are most active in early fall, spring, and summer. More than 110 distinct rhinovirus types have been identified. These agents grow best at temperatures of about 91 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature inside the human nose.

Approximately 10 to 15 percent of adult colds are caused by viruses also responsible for other, more severe illnesses.

The causes of 30 to 50 percent of adult colds, presumed to be viral, remain unidentified. The same viruses that produce colds in adults appear to cause colds in children. The relative importance of various viruses in pediatric colds, however, is unclear because it's difficult to isolate the precise cause of symptoms in studies of children with colds.

The Weather

There is no evidence that you can get a cold from exposure to cold weather or from getting chilled or overheated.

Other Factors

There is also no evidence that your chances of getting a cold are related to factors such as exercise, diet, or enlarged tonsils or adenoids. On the other hand, research suggests that psychological stress and allergic diseases affecting your nose or throat may have an impact on your chances of getting infected by cold viruses.

The Cold Season

In the United States, most colds occur during the fall and winter. Beginning in late August or early September, the rate of colds increases slowly for a few weeks and remains high until March or April, when it declines. The seasonal variation may relate to the opening of schools and to cold weather, which prompt people to spend more time indoors and increase the chances that viruses will spread to you from someone else.

Seasonal changes in relative humidity also may affect the prevalence of colds. The most common cold-causing viruses survive better when humidity is low-the colder months of the year. Cold weather also may make the inside lining of your nose drier and more vulnerable to viral infection.


Symptoms of the common cold usually begin 2 to 3 days after infection and often include

  • Mucus buildup in your nose
  • Difficulty breathing through your nose
  • Swelling of your sinuses
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Headache

Fever is usually slight but can climb to 102 degrees Fahrenheit in infants and young children. Cold symptoms can last from 2 to 14 days, but like most people, you'll probably recover in a week. If symptoms occur often or last much longer than 2 weeks, you might have an allergy rather than a cold.

Colds occasionally can lead to bacterial infections of your middle ear or sinuses, requiring treatment with antibiotics. High fever, significantly swollen glands, severe sinus pain, and a cough that produces mucus, may indicate a complication or more serious illness requiring a visit to your healthcare provider.


You can get infected by cold viruses by either of these methods.

Touching your skin or environmental surfaces, such as telephones and stair rails, that have cold germs on them and then touching your eyes or nose

Inhaling drops of mucus full of cold germs from the air


There is no cure for the common cold, but you can get relief from your cold symptoms by

  • Resting in bed
  • Drinking plenty of fluids
  • Gargling with warm salt water or using throat sprays or lozenges for a scratchy or sore throat
  • Using petroleum jelly for a raw nose
  • Taking aspirin or acetaminophen, Tylenol, for example, for headache or fever

A word of caution: Several studies have linked aspirin use to the development of Reye's syndrome in children recovering from flu or chickenpox. Reye's syndrome is a rare but serious illness that usually occurs in children between the ages of 3 and 12 years. It can affect all organs of the body but most often the brain and liver. While most children who survive an episode of Reye's syndrome do not suffer any lasting consequences, the illness can lead to permanent brain damage or death. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children and teenagers not be given aspirin or medicine containing aspirin when they have any viral illness such as the common cold.

Over-the-counter cold medicines

Nonprescription cold remedies, including decongestants and cough suppressants, may relieve some of your cold symptoms but will not prevent or even shorten the length of your cold. Moreover, because most of these medicines have some side effects, such as drowsiness, dizziness, insomnia, or upset stomach, you should take them with care.

Over-the counter-antihistamines

Nonprescription antihistamines may give you some relief from symptoms such as runny nose and watery eyes which are commonly associated with colds.


Never take antibiotics to treat a cold because antibiotics do not kill viruses. You should use these prescription medicines only if you have a rare bacterial complication, such as sinusitis or ear infections. In addition, you should not use antibiotics "just in case" because they will not prevent bacterial infections.


Although inhaling steam may temporarily relieve symptoms of congestion, health experts have found that this approach is not an effective treatment.


There are several ways you can keep yourself from getting a cold or passing one on to others.

Because cold germs on your hands can easily enter through your eyes and nose, keep your hands away from those areas of your body

If possible, avoid being close to people who have colds

If you have a cold, avoid being close to people

If you sneeze or cough, cover your nose or mouth.

Hand washing

Hand washing with soap and water is the simplest and one of the most effective ways to keep from getting colds or giving them to others. During cold season, you should wash your hands often and teach your children to do the same. When water isn't available, CDC recommends using alcohol-based products made for washing hands.


Rhinoviruses can live up to 3 hours on your skin. They also can survive up to 3 hours on objects such as telephones and stair railings. Cleaning environmental surfaces with a virus-killing disinfectant might help prevent spread of infection.


Because so many different viruses can cause the common cold, the outlook for developing a vaccine that will prevent transmission of all of them is dim. Scientists, however, continue to search for a solution to this problem.

Unproven prevention methods


Echinacea is a dietary herbal supplement that some people use to treat their colds. Researchers, however, have found that while the herb may help treat your colds if taken in the early stages, it will not help prevent them. One research study funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a part of the National Institutes of Health, found that echinacea is not affective at all in treating children aged 2 to 11.

Vitamin C

Many people are convinced that taking large quantities of vitamin C will prevent colds or relieve symptoms. To test this theory, several large-scale, controlled studies involving children and adults have been conducted. To date, no conclusive data has shown that large doses of vitamin C prevent colds. The vitamin may reduce the severity or duration of symptoms, but there is no clear evidence. Taking vitamin C over long periods of time in large amounts may be harmful. Too much vitamin C can cause severe diarrhea, a particular danger for elderly people and small children.


Thanks to basic research, scientists know more about the rhinovirus than almost any other virus, and have powerful new tools for developing antiviral drugs. Although the common cold may never be uncommon, further investigations offer the hope of reducing the huge burden of this universal problem.

Research on rhinovirus transmission

Much of the research on the transmission of the common cold has been done with rhinoviruses, which are shed in the highest concentration in nasal secretions. Studies suggest a person is most likely to transmit rhinoviruses in the second to fourth day of infection, when the amount of virus in nasal secretions is highest.

Researchers also have shown that using aspirin to treat colds increases the amount of virus in nasal secretions, possibly making the cold sufferer more of a hazard to others.


For information on this topic from the Mayo Clinic, please click the following: Pink Eye

What is conjunctivitis?

Conjunctivitis is one of the most common and treatable eye infections in children and adults. Often called "pink eye," it is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the tissue that lines the inside of the eyelid. This tissue helps keep the eyelid and eyeball moist.

Conjunctivitis can be caused by a virus, bacteria, irritating substances (shampoos, dirt, smoke and especially pool chlorine), allergens (substances that cause allergies) or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Types of pink eye caused by bacteria, viruses and STDs can spread easily from person to person, but are not a serious health risks if diagnosed promptly.

What are the symptoms of conjunctivitis?

  • Redness in the white of the eye or inner eyelid
  • Increased amount of tears
  • Thick yellow discharge that crusts over the eyelashes, especially after sleep (with conjunctivitis caused by bacteria)
  • Other discharge from your eye (green or white)
  • Itchy eyes (especially with conjunctivitis caused by allergies)
  • Burning eyes (especially with conjunctivitis caused by chemicals and irritants)
  • Blurred vision
  • Increased sensitivity to light

See your ophthalmologist (a doctor trained to treat eye conditions) or family doctor if you have any of these persistent symptoms. Ear infections also commonly occur in children who have bacterial conjunctivitis. He or she will conduct an exam of your eyes and possibly take a sample of fluid from the eyelid using a cotton swab. Bacteria or viruses that may have caused conjunctivitis, including STDs, can then be seen through a microscope.

How is conjunctivitis treated?


Conjunctivitis caused by bacteria is treated with antibiotics, a type of medicine prescribed by your doctor. The antibiotic can be given as eye drops, ointments or pills. Eye drops or ointments may need to be applied to the inside of the eyelid three to four times a day for five to seven days. It may be difficult to apply ointments inside of a child's eye. If the ointment gets as far as the eyelashes, it will most likely melt and enter the eye. Pills may need to be taken for several days. The infection should improve within a week. Take the medicine as instructed by your doctor, even if the symptoms go away.


Medicine cannot treat conjunctivitis caused by a virus. This type of conjunctivitis often results from a common cold. Just as a cold must run its course, so must this form of conjunctivitis, lasting from 4 to 7 days. You may, however, help relieve symptoms by applying a cold compress.

Irritating substance

To treat this type of conjunctivitis, use warm water to wash the irritating substance from the eye for five minutes. You should also avoid further exposure to irritating substances. Your eyes should begin to improve within four hours after washing away the substance, otherwise call your doctor.


Allergy-associated conjunctivitis should be evaluated by you ophthalmologist and an allergist. It may disappear completely when the allergy is either treated with antihistamines or the allergen is removed. Relieve symptoms temporarily by applying a cold compress closed eyes.

What can I do to help relieve symptoms?

  • Protect your eyes from dirt and other irritating substances.
  • Remove contact lenses, if you wear them.
  • Place cold compresses on the eyes.
  • Wash your face and eyelids with mild soap or baby shampoo and rinse with water to remove irritating substances.

Non-prescription "artificial tears," a type of eye drops, may help relieve itching and burning from irritating substances. (Note: Other types of eye drops may irritate the eyes and should not be used.) Do not use the same bottle of drops in the other eye if it is not infected.

How can I prevent spreading the infection?

  • Don't touch or rub the infected eye(s).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water.
  • Wash any discharge from your eyes twice a day using a fresh cotton ball or paper towel. Afterwards, discard the cotton ball and wash your hands with soap and warm water.
  • Wash your bed linens, pillowcases and towels in hot water and detergent.
  • Avoid wearing eye makeup.
  • Don't share eye makeup with anyone else.
  • Never wear another person's contact lens.
  • Wear glasses instead of contact lenses. Throw away disposable lenses or be sure to clean extended wear lenses and all eyewear cases.
  • Avoid sharing common articles such as unwashed towels, cups and glasses.
  • Wash your hands after applying the eye drops or ointment to your eye or your child's eye.
  • Do not use eye drops in a non-infected eye that were used for an infected one.

If your child has bacterial or viral conjunctivitis, keep your child home from school or day care until he or she is no longer contagious.


For information on this topic from the Mayo Clinic, please click the following: Dehydration

Dehydration occurs when your body loses too much water. When you stop drinking water or lose large amounts of fluids through diarrhea, vomiting, or sweating, the body cells reabsorb fluid from the blood and other body tissues. When too much water is lost, the blood vessels may collapse. Without medical attention, death may result.

Dehydration is very dangerous for infants, small children, and older adults. Watch closely for its early signs anytime there is an illness that causes high fever, vomiting or diarrhea. The early symptoms are:

  • Dry mouth and sticky saliva
  • Reduced urine output with dark yellow urine

Home Treatment

Treatment of mild dehydration involves stopping the fluid loss and gradually replacing lost fluids.

  • To stop vomiting or diarrhea, stop all food for several hours or until you are feeling better. Take frequent, small sips of water of a rehydration drink.
  • When the vomiting or diarrhea is controlled, take water or diluted broth or sports drinks a sip at a time until the stomach can handle larger amounts.

When to Call a Health Professional

  • If someone cannot hold down even small sips of liquid after 12 hours of no food or drink.
  • If the following signs of severe dehydration develop:
    • Sunken eyes
    • Little or no urine for eight hours
    • Skin that is doughy or doesn't bounce back when pinched
    • Low blood pressure and rapid heart rate
    • Lethargy
  • If vomiting lasts longer than 24 hours in an adult.
  • If severe diarrhea (large loose stools every one to two hours) last longer than two days in an adult.


For information on this topic from the Mayo Clinic, please click the following: Diarrhea

Diarrhea is an increase in the frequency of bowel movements and the discharge of watery, loose stools. The person with diarrhea may also have abdominal cramps and nausea.

Diarrhea occurs when the intestines push stools through before the water in them can be reabsorbed by the body. It is your body's way of quickly clearing out any viruses or bacteria.

Most diarrhea is caused by viral stomach flu (gastroenteritis). Some medications, especially antibiotics, may also cause diarrhea. For some people, emotional stress, anxiety or food intolerance may bring on the condition. Irritable bowel syndrome may also cause diarrhea.

Drinking untreated water that contains the giardia lamblia parasite can also cause diarrhea that develops one to four weeks later.

Since most caused of diarrhea are viral, they will clear up in a few days with good home treatment.

Home Treatment

  • Put your stomach at rest. Stop all food for several hours or until you are feeling better. Take frequent, small sips of water or a rehydration drink.
  • Since diarrhea may sometimes speed recovery of the underlying problem, avoid anti-diarrheal drugs for the first six hours. After that, use them only if there are no other signs of illness, such as fever, and if cramping or discomfort continues.
  • Begin eating mild foods, such as rice, dry toast or crackers, bananas, and applesauce the next day or sooner, depending on how you feel. Avoid spicy foods, fruit, alcohol and coffee until 48 hours after all symptoms have disappeared. Avoid dairy products for three days.


For information on this topic from the Mayo Clinic, please click the following: Meningitis

What is Meningococcal Disease?

Meningococcal disease is a potentially life-threatening bacterial infection. The disease most commonly is expressed as either meningococcal meningitis, an inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord or meningococcemia, a presence of bacteria in the blood.

Meningococcal disease is caused by Neisseria meningitidis, which has become the leading cause of bacterial meningitis in older children and young adults in the United States. Meningococcal disease strikes about 3,000 Americans each year, leading to death in approximately 10 to 15 percent of cases, which translates into 300 deaths annually.

It is estimated that 100 to 125 cases of meningococcal disease occur annually on college campuses and 5 to 15 students die as a result. The disease can result in permanent brain damage, hearing loss, learning disability, limb amputation, kidney failure or death.

The incidence of meningitis outbreaks of serogroup C has risen in the past 10 years, including cases at U.S. colleges and universities. Data suggests certain social behaviors such as, exposure to passive and active smoking, bar patronage and excessive alcohol consumption may increase students' risk for contracting the disease. Recent data also shows students living in dormitories, particularly freshman, are at increased risk.

Recommendation on Meningococcal Vaccine:

The first national analysis of bacterial meningitis in college students has identified a subgroup -- freshmen living in dorms -- that is more than six times as likely to contract the disease than college students overall.

"These data indicate the need for college students, especially entering freshmen, to be aware of the signs and symptoms of the disease because of the importance of early medical care," says Nancy Rosenstein of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, who presents the findings today at a meeting of the American College Health Association. "College-bound students, their parents and college administrators should know that a safe and effective vaccine is available."

The new data expand on a Maryland study reported last week by researchers at Baltimore's Johns Hopkins University. In that study, students living on campus were found to have a risk of contracting meningitis that was three times that of off-campus students. Researchers found a peak in incidence among 17-year-olds.

Bacterial meningitis is far more serious than the more common viral meningitis, which causes a flu-like illness that clears up on its own. It occurs most often in late winter or early spring and kills about 10% of its victims or about 300 people each year in the USA.

For reasons still unclear, the incidence is increasing among teens and young adults, the CDC says. In 1996, there were 621 cases among people ages 15 to 24. In 1991, 310 cases occurred in that age group.

Early symptoms of meningococcal meningitis, the most common bacterial form of the disease, are:

  • High Fever
  • Severe Headache
  • Stiff Neck
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Rapidly Progressing Rash

Often, Rosenstein says, these symptoms are mistaken as flu, but "meningitis is different... because it is one of the few (diseases) where someone can be completely well and within 24 hours be dead."

She advises students to "seek medical care immediately if they experience these symptoms."

More information about meningitis can be found at the Center for Disease Control and the American College Health Association.

Nausea and Vomitting

For information on this topic from the Mayo Clinic, please click the following: Nausea and Vomiting

Nausea is a very unpleasant feeling in the pit of the stomach. Someone who is nauseated may feel weak and sweaty and produce lots of saliva. Intense nausea often leads to vomiting, which forces stomach contents up the esophagus and out the mouth. Home treatment will help ease the discomfort. Nausea and vomiting may be caused by:

  • Viral stomach flu or food poisoning
  • Stress or nervousness
  • Medications (especially antibiotics and anti-inflammatories)
  • Pregnancy
  • Diabetes
  • Migraine
  • Head injury

Nausea and vomiting can also be signs of other serious illnesses.

Home Treatment

  • If vomiting is severe and persistent, stop all food for several hours or until you are feeling better. Take frequent small sips of water or a rehydration drink.
  • Drink only clear noncarbonated liquids such as water, weak tea, diluted juice or broth for the next 12 to 24 hours. Start with a few sips at a time and increase gradually.
  • If vomiting lasts longer than 24 hours, sip a rehydration drink to restore lost fluids and nutrients.
  • Rests in bed until you are feeling better.
  • Watch for and treat early signs of dehydration.

When you are feeling better, begin eating clear soups, mild foods and liquids until all symptoms are gone for 12 to 48 hours, depending on how you feel. Jell-O, dry toast, crackers, and cooked cereal are good choices.

Poison Control Information

For information on this topic from the Mayo Clinic, please click the following: Poison

American Association of Poison Control Centers

1 (800) 222-1222

Poison Control Website

Seek immediate medical attention if poisoning has occurred.

Emergency and After Hours Care

Stomach Flu and Food Poisoning

For information on this topic from the Mayo Clinic, please click the following: Flu

Stomach flu and food poisoning are different ailments with different causes. However, many people confuse the two because the symptoms are so similar. Most people who get food poisoning attribute their symptoms of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain to a sudden case of stomach flu, and vice versa. The disagreeable symptoms discourage you from eating until the problem clears up.

Stomach flu is usually caused by a viral infection in the digestive system, hence the medical name, viral gastroenteritis. To prevent stomach flu, you must avoid contact with the virus, which is not always easy to do.

Food poisoning is caused by bacteria that grow in food that is not handled or stored properly. Bacteria can grow rapidly when certain foods, especially meats, dairy products, and sauces are not handled properly during preparation or are kept at temperatures between 40o and 140 o. The bacteria produce a poison (toxin) that causes an acute inflammation of the intestines.

Suspect food poisoning when symptoms are shared by others who ate the same food or after eating unrefrigerated foods. Symptoms of food poisoning may not begin for 6 to 48 hours.


To prevent food poisoning:

  • Follow the 2-40-140 rule. Don't eat meats, dressing, salads or other foods that have been kept for more than two hours between 40º F and 140º F.
  • Be especially careful with large cooked meats like your holiday turkey, which require a long time to cool. Thick parts of the meat may stay over 40º F long enough to allow bacteria to grow.
  • Use a thermometer to check your refrigerator. It should be between 34º F and 40º F.
  • Defrost meats in the refrigerator or by microwaving, not on the kitchen counter.
  • Wash your hands, cutting boards, and counter tops frequently. After handling raw meats, especially chicken, wash your hands and utensils before preparing other foods.
  • Reheat meats to over 140º F for 10 minutes to destroy any bacteria. Even then, the toxin may not be destroyed.
  • Cook hamburger well done. Cook chicken until the juices run clear.
  • Cover meats and poultry during microwave cooking to heat the surface of the meat.
  • Do not eat raw eggs or sauces made with raw eggs.
  • Keep party foods on ice.
  • When you eat out, avoid rare and uncooked meats. Eat salad bar and deli items before they get warm.
  • Discard any cans or jars with bulging lids or leaks.

Home Treatment

  • Viral stomach flu will usually go away within 24 to 48 hours. Good home care can speed recovery.
  • Watch for and treat early signs of dehydration. Infants, children and older adults can quickly become dehydrated from diarrhea and vomiting.
  • If you suspect food poisoning, check with others who may have eaten the same food. If possible, save a sample of the food for analysis in case symptoms do not improve.

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

For information on this topic from the Mayo Clinic, please click the following: UTI

When should I see my doctor?

You should see your doctor if you have any of these signs or symptoms:

  • burning feeling when you urinate
  • frequent or intense urges to urinate, even when you have little urine to pass
  • pain in your back or lower abdomen
  • cloudy, dark, bloody, or unusual-smelling urine
  • fever or chills

Women are more likely to get UTIs than men are. When men get UTIs, however, they're often serious and hard to treat. UTIs can be especially dangerous for older people and pregnant women, as well as for those with diabetes and those who have difficulty urinating.

How are UTIs treated?

Once it is determined that your symptoms have been caused by an infection, your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic. Antibiotics can kill the bacteria causing the infection. The antibiotic prescribed will depend on the type of bacteria found.

For simple infections, you'll be given 3 days of therapy. For more serious infections, you'll be given a prescription for 7 days or longer. Be sure to follow your instructions carefully and completely. If you have any allergies to drugs, be sure your doctor knows what they are.

Will UTIs come back?

Sometimes. Most healthy women don't have repeat infections. However, about one out of every five women who get a UTI will get another one. Some women get three or more UTIs a year. Men frequently get repeat infections. Anyone who has diabetes or a problem that makes it difficult to urinate may get repeat infections.

If you get repeat infections, talk with your doctor about special treatment plans. Your doctor may refer you to a urologist, a doctor who specializes in urinary problems. Your doctor may have you take antibiotics over a longer period to help prevent repeat infections. Some doctors give patients who get frequent UTIs a supply of antibiotics to be taken at the first sign of infection. Make sure you understand what your doctor tells you about taking the antibiotic and do exactly that.

Men may need to take antibiotics for a longer time. Bacteria can hide deep in prostate tissue. Men shouldn't take their spouse's pills and think they will cure the infection. See a doctor for treatment that fits your needs.

How can I keep from getting more UTIs?

Changing some of your daily habits may help you avoid UTIs.

  • Drink lots of fluid to flush the bacteria from your system. Water is best. Try for 6 to 8 glasses a day.
  • Drink cranberry juice or take vitamin C. Both increase the acid in your urine so bacteria can't grow easily. Cranberry juice also makes your bladder wall slippery, so bacteria can't stick to it.
  • Urinate frequently and go when you first feel the urge. Bacteria can grow when urine stays in the bladder too long.
  • Urinate shortly after sex. This can flush away bacteria that might have entered your urethra during sex.
  • After using the toilet, always wipe from front to back, especially after a bowel movement.
  • Wear cotton underwear and loose-fitting clothes so that air can keep the area dry. Avoid tight-fitting jeans and nylon underwear, which trap moisture and can help bacteria grow.
  • For women, using a diaphragm or spermicide for birth control can lead to UTIs by increasing bacteria growth. If you have trouble with UTIs, consider modifying your birth control method. Unlubricated condoms or spermicidal condoms increase irritation and help bacteria cause symptoms. Consider switching to lubricated condoms without spermicide or using a nonspermicidal lubricant.

For more information on UTI visit National Kidney and Urological Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NKUDIC).

Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI)

What is a STI?

"Sexually transmitted infections are passed from person to person through sexual contact. They are caused by a bacteria, parasite, or virus."

When to get tested?

"It is important to get tested if you have symptoms or have been in sexual contact with someone who tested positive for a STI to prevent further spread. Also, you can get tested as a preventative measure even if you have no symptoms. Anyone is welcome to get tested!"

What are the most common STIs?

Chlamydia, gonorrhea, HPV, syphilis, genital warts, herpes simplex, and trichomonas"

What are common signs and symptoms?

  • sores or bumps on genitals
  • pain or burning sensation when urinating
  • pain during sex
  • rash and redness on genitals
  • unusual discharge or odorous discharge
  • fever

Where can you get tested?

Student Health Services in Building 39A, Room 2098 offers STI testing to students. They may be contacted via phone at (904) 620-2900 . The following testing options are currently available :
  • chlamydia: ($17) is obtained by urine sample or genital swab
  • gonorrhea: ($18) is obtained by urine sample or genital swab
  • HIV: ($18) is obtained by blood draw *offered free during campus events*
  • syphilis ($9) is obtained by blood draw
  • herpes ($25) is obtained from swabbing an open sore or lesion

Other Testing Locations in Jacksonville

Florida Department of Health Duval County:
South Jacksonville Center (904) 253-1100
Beaches Center (904) 253-2555
Central Plaza Center (904) 253-1080
"Women Health Center (904) 353-2130 Planned Parenthood of North Florida INC. Jacksonville Health Center (904) 380-5571 5978 Powers Ave . Jacksonville, FL 32217"

Ways to Prevent STIs

Having protected sex by using barrier protection (i.e. condoms or dental dams) is the number one way to prevent STIs! Make sure the barrier protection is not expired and thoroughly inspect it for rips or tears before use. Birth control alone cannot protect against STIs.

Treatment Options

Ifyou test positive for a STI, here is a list of common options used to treat the suspected STIs. Your clinician will determine the best treatment option for you:"
  • Chlamydia: a single-dose antibiotic, Azithromycin, will be given once by mouth"
  • Gonorrhea: an antibiotic, Rocephin, will be injected into the muscle followed by a single dose of Azithromycin"
  • Genital Warts: given a prescription for Aldara which is a medicated cream or use of nitrogen to freeze of warts
  • Trichomonas: a single-pill antibiotic, Metronidazole, taken by mouth"
  • Herpes Simplex: an antiviral medication will be prescribed

**Testing may need to be repeated after 3
months. All partners should also be informed and tested .**