Student Health Office
Self Help Guide
Common Health Problems
Signs & Symptoms
- Watery, loose stools
- Frequent bowel movements
- Cramping or pain in the abdomen
- “Stomach flu,” which is a viral infection of the intestines.
- Spoiled food, contaminated water, or infections from bacteria or parasites that affect the digestive tract. One example is traveler’s diarrhea.
- Overuse of alcohol or laxatives.
- A side effect of some medicines, such as some antibiotics.
- Lactose intolerance or a food allergy.
- Menstrual cramps.
- Stress or a panic attack
- Wash your hands after going to the toilet and before preparing food. Use disposable paper towels to dry your hands.
- When traveling, find out if it is advisable to drink bottled water, boiled water, and to avoid using ice cubes. You may need to remove the peels from fruits and vegetables before eating.
- If you are nauseous or if you have diarrhea, it is best to rest your stomach and intestines. It would be best to avoid all solid foods for 24 hours.
- If you have vomited, you should have nothing by mouth for one hour. You may then start by sucking on ice chips or having water in one tablespoon quantities. You can double the amount of water every 20 minutes. It is very important to keep drinking fluids during your illness. If you vomit again, you must once again avoid anything by mouth for one hour and then start the ice chips or tablespoon quantities of water.
Fluids you may drink:
- In general, anything you can see through is okay.
- Apple Juice
- Gatorade (DO NOT USE for CHILDREN under age 5)
- Pedialyte or similar product
- Flat 7-Up or Ginger Ale (No bubbles! Let the soda sit in an open glass for one hour.)
- Herb teas such as peppermint or chamomile
Fluids to avoid:
- Citrus Juices
- Coffee and black tea
- Milk and other dairy products
When you have not thrown up for 18-24 hours, the following list of bland foods are okay for the next 24-48 hours. After this time period, you may resume your normal diet providing you feel well.
These Foods are OK:
- Eggs (boiled or poached)
- Cooked Vegetables: Carrots, Green Beans, Squash, Beets, Potatoes without skin
- Dry Toast (without butter)
- Cooked Cereals (including rice and barley)
- Pasta (without topping)
- Potatoes (without topping)
- Dairy products
These Foods are NOT ok:
- Fried foods
- Pickles, Olives, Relish
- Spicy foods
- Coffee, Black Tea, Cola
- Black and Red Pepper
- Raw Fruits
- Hard foods such as Nuts, Seeds, Popcorn
- Raw Vegetables and Bran
- Smoked foods such as Bacon, Sausage, Luncheon Meats
- Gas forming foods: Cabbage, Cucumber, Garlic, Dried Beans, Onions, Green Pepper, Turnips, Rutabagas
- Food at hot temperatures
- Potato Chips and Tortilla Chips
Nausea & Vomiting
Follow the Self-care of Diarrhea
Signs & Symptoms
- Fever is one way that the body fights infection or illness. It helps speed up the body's defense actions by increasing blood flow.
- Normal body temperature ranges from 97 F to 100 F, with 98.6 F being the average.
- When you have a fever, your skin feels warm, you may sweat, and your temperature is higher than 100 F.
- Ask your RA for a thermometer to keep track of your temperature.
- Drink fluids: more than 8 - 10 glasses every 24 hours.
- Take an analgesic (acetaminophen or Ibuprofen) every 3 - 4 hours.
- For high fevers, put cold packs or cool cloths on the neck, groin, and under armpits.
- Don't wear too many clothes or use too many blankets.
- Seek medical attention if fever persists or is not relieved by medication or if fever reaches temperatures above 102 degrees F.
- A secondary complication of fever is that of dehydration. When you are dehydrated, you feel weak and may have a headache or dizziness. It is important to remember to replenish bodily fluids lost by a fever by drinking excess fluids. If you are not able to keep down fluids because of vomiting, seek medical attention immediately to prevent dehydration.
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