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Self Care Assistance

This information provides guidance to assist you in self-care, however, It covers only a few minor injuries and illnesses. Literature is available in the Student Health Office on most subjects pertaining to your health and wellness. For more health information, stop by the GU Health Office at any time.

Minor Injuries


See the campus nurse for assessment. Ice: During the first 24-48 hours an ice pack needs to be applied for 30 minutes every 2 hours. Continue ice as long as the area is swollen. To be most effective, fill a plastic bag with ice and add water to fill the bag one-fourth full.


The easiest way to apply compression is with an elastic bandage. Pressure should be the greatest at the end farthest from the heart. Begin wrapping at the farthest point, "pushing" the swelling toward the heart. If the area above or below the bandage becomes swollen, cold or bluish, remove the bandage and reapply with less pressure.


Elevate the injury. A foot should be above the hip and a hand should be higher than the shoulder for best results.

Minor Burns/Sunburn

Immediately use cold water. Do not apply any creams/lotions to the burn! For a mild sunburn there are several preparations available (Solarcaine, Aloe Vera Gel). The application of household vinegar will help relieve the sting. More serious sunburns need to be elevated. Prevention is the key. Use sunscreen. Serious burns need medical attention.

Head Injuries

Anyone who has been unconscious from a head injury should be seen by a physician. Anyone having seizures must be seen by a health professional for evaluation.


A cold will last 7-10 days unless there are complications such as a fever or bronchitis. Unless your fever reaches 102 degrees it is best to let it run its course. Seek medical help if your temperature remains elevated.


1. Drink large quantities of fluids. Fluids help to loosen the mucus secretions and help to control a fever.

2. Gargle warm salt water to reduce swelling and cleanse the throat (one-half teaspoon in an 8 ounce glass of warm water).

3. Non-aspirin analgesics such as Tylenol or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) will help reduce fever and discomfort.

4. Cough medications can provide relief. If the cough is caused by an irritation a preparation to suppress the cough is sufficient. A cough producing phlegm needs a preparation with an expectorant.

5. Decongestants may provide relief of nasal and sinus congestion.

6. Throat lozenges produce a soothing relief but gargling is still recommended.

7. Antihistamines are helpful in treating allergies with sneezing and nasal drainage. They may cause drowsiness.

Nose Bleeds

Pinch the entire soft part of the nose to the point of hurting, pushing in towards your face and hold for Ten minutes. DO NOT release the pressure to check for bleeding. Sit with your head erect. If bleeding persists or is severe, medical attention is needed. Major causes of nose bleeds are dry air and colds.

Minor Cuts, Scratches, and Abrasions

Wash area with soap and warm water. An antibiotic ointment should be applied. Cover area with a band aid or dressing. Always check on the need for a tetanus booster. Protection from tetanus is critical for everyone. To be protected it is necessary to have three injections, at least four weeks apart. This is followed by a booster every 10 years (this series of 3 injections is usually given during infancy and is part of your immunization record).

For a very serious cut, you must control the bleeding by applying direct pressure. Always seek professional assistance.

Poison Ivy

There are lotions and ointments to control itching. However, if severe irritation exists, medical attention is needed. Keep the irritated area clean.

Gastrointestinal Upset or Stomach Flu

Vomiting is a symptom of an illness. Whatever the reason for vomiting, all foods and fluids should be omitted for at least one hour following the last vomiting episode.

Following the one hour period, it is best to begin a diet (on a trial basis) of small sips of water, sucking on ice chips, or small sips of 7-Up or Sprite. Clear liquids can be added to the diet, very slowly. Do not consume creamy liquids that contain milk or milk products. After 24 hours, if vomiting has ceased, you may begin to add foods that are easily digested. If vomiting continues more than 24 hours, contact a health professional.

Diarrhea adds to the seriousness of a gastrointestinal upset. A person dehydrates more rapidly if they have diarrhea in addition to vomiting. Follow the same diet but omit fruit juices and substitute bananas.

Strep Throat

If you have a severe sore throat, an elevated temperature (101 degrees F. orally) and/or white spots in your throat, there is a chance that you may have strep throat. An antibiotic may be needed. It is important to seek professional help. You are encouraged to visit the Student Health Office where a throat culture can be done for a small fee, and a doctor's appointment, if necessary, can be arranged.

Swollen Glands

Lymph nodes are located throughout the body. The greatest concentration is in the neck, under the arms, and in the groin. These glands may become swollen for a variety of reasons, such as infection (either viral or bacterial), an open sore in that area of the body, or a more serious disorder. Swollen glands should not be ignored and you are encouraged to seek professional advice.


This is a term that is often misused. The term refers to the firmness of the stool - not the frequency. Means of treating constipation include an increase of fluid intake, eating fresh fruits, bran cereals and/or drinking prune juice.

Urinary Tract Infections

The three common symptoms of a urinary tract infection are frequency of urination, urgency (the feeling you need to empty your bladder at all times), and a burning sensation when you urinate. The urine may have a strong odor and darker color. With these symptoms, it is necessary to seek medical help. The sooner you can be referred to a doctor and treatment, the sooner you will feel better. Drink lots of water (the more you can drink, the better.)

Personal Counseling

On-campus counseling is available through the Student Deans. Professional services of Grace Counseling Center is available to single or married students via referrals by the Deans.

Healthcare Links

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