If you have questions about your symptoms or think you need to see the doctor, call the nurse first: 402-472-5000.


Call the University Health Center at 402-472-5000 if…

  • Your fever is greater than 101.9 for 24 to 48 hours and does not improve with medication
  • You’re having trouble keeping food or fluids down
  • It hurts to swallow
  • Your cough persists for 10 or more days
  • Your congestion or headache lingers
  • You experience breathing difficulty or chest pain

Is it a Cold or Flu?

Colds and the flu have some commonalities, but it’s important to know the differences and when to see a doctor. Both are common respiratory illnesses caused by different viruses. Generally, the flu is worse than the common cold—symptoms are more intense and have a sudden onset.

Difference between flu and cold
Symptom onset Abrupt Gradual
Fever Usually Rare
Aches Usually Slightly
Chills Fairly common Uncommon
Sneezing/stuffy nose Sometimes Common
Sore throat Sometimes Common
Chest discomfort/cough Common Mild to moderate

What Medicine Will Help Me Feel Better?

Antibiotics will not help because colds and flus are viruses, not bacterial infections. Learn more on the CDC website.

These over-the-counter items can help you manage symptoms. All of the following items can be purchased at the University Health Center pharmacy.

Symptoms and OTC Medications
SymptomOver-the-Counter MedicationInstructions
Fever, sore throat and/or pain relief Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) free at the health center




Acetaminophen (Tylenol) free at the health center
200mg one to two tabs every six to eight hours

1 tab every 12 hours

325mg, one to two tabs every six hours (no more than eight tabs per day)
Congestion of sinuses, ears and/or chest Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed 12 hour) Only available behind the counter at pharmacies Take a.m. and p.m. while congested
Allergy symptoms or mild congestion Diphenhydramine 25mg (Benadryl)

Loratadine (Claritin)

Cetirizine (Zyrtec)
One to two tabs every six hours

One tab daily
Excess mucus Guaifenesin (Mucinex)

Guaifenesin/Pseudoephedrine (Mucinex D)

Guaifenesin/Dextromethorphan (Mucinex DM)
One tab every 12 hours

D = a decongestant

DM = a cough suppressant
Cough Dextromethorphan (Delsym 12h)

Guaifenesin/Dextromethorphan (Robitussin DM)
Take as directed on the label
Dry sinuses Nasal saline washes/sprays Take as directed on the label

Self-Care Tips

  • Stock up on over-the-counter supplies to help you manage your symptoms
  • Self-isolate for at least 24 hours after your fever and symptoms have resolved. Contact your professor if you are unable to attend class
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap or use hand sanitizers containing ethyl alcohol
  • Increase your fluid intake. Stick to clear fluids as much as possible. Hot teas and chicken noodle soup are other great options
  • Rest as much as possible. If you’re tired, your body is trying to tell you to slow down
  • Don’t take double doses of any medications and read all labels and packaging carefully
  • Don’t consume alcohol, smoke or ingest other irritants such as dust as these can worsen mucus production
  • Seek emergency medical care if your symptoms are severe (chest pain, shortness of breath, persistently high fever of over 102 F, etc.)

Preventive Care Tips

  1. Get your flu shot every year (free for students at the health center)
  2. Wash your hands often with soap and warm water (especially after coughing or sneezing)
  3. Always cover your cough with a tissue or by turning your head into your sleeve
  4. Don’t reuse or keep tissues; throw them away after use
  5. Have hand sanitizer with you in case soap and water isn’t available
  6. Try not to touch your nose, mouth or eyes because this can spread germs
  7. Don’t share drinks or food and try to keep items like cellphones, remotes, laptops, etc. to yourself


Current CDC Flu Recommendations
Antibiotic Resistance
How to Take Your Temperature