Helpful Hints for Dealing with Congestion, Sore Throat, and/or Cough

Viruses are the cause of the “Common Cold” and the vast majority of Upper Respiratory Infections-URI’s. The symptoms can last from 2 days to 2 weeks, but most last about 1 week. The symptoms are self-limiting, which means they will resolve on their own without any treatment. Occasionally, the virus may cause fever, headache, body aches, fatigue or weakness. Antibiotics do NOT treat viruses. Patience, fluids, OTC medications and time is generally all that is needed.

For congestion
  • Drink plenty of fluids! – Fluids help to thin the mucus and encourage drainage from a “stopped-up” nose
  • Increase the humidity in your environment – showers, humidifiers, hot soup and warm beverages
  • Get plenty of rest – limit your activities as best you can
  • Sleep with your shoulders, neck and head elevated – this will help you breathe a little easier at night
  • Saline nasal spray will help clear and decrease swelling in nasal passages
  • Try over-the-counter (OTC) medications specific to your symptoms – these medications will not shorten the length of the illness but may provide some temporary relief from the symptoms. Decongestants, antihistamines and expectorants such as Tylenol Cold products, Dayquil, Nyquil, Sudafed Nondrying, Claritin , and Mucinex may be helpful. Regular Tylenol or Advil will help with body aches and fever.
  • Clear to lightly colored mucus, especially in the morning or evening, is very common with viral infections
For sore throat
  • Gargle with warm salt water (½ teaspoon of salt per 6-8 oz. glass of warm water ) will help soothe your throat
  • Hard candy and/or throat lozenges or sprays may help with throat pain/irritation
  • Tylenol or Advil may provide some relief
  • Eating small amounts of food frequently will help clear the postnasal mucus from the back of your throat
For cough
  • Use OTC cough suppressants sparingly. Expectorants (guaifenesin) are helpful in “breaking up” a cough. Coughing is the body’s attempt to clear the breathing passages.
  • Totally suppressing the cough may lead to lung infections.

Seek Medical Help If:

  • Fever of 101 or over for two or more days
  • Severe sore throat and fever only, for longer than 2 days
  • Breathing is difficult or painful or if you are wheezing
  • Symptoms last longer than 2 weeks

Helpful Hints for Dealing with Nausea, Vomiting and/or Diarrhea

Viruses are the usual cause of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. These illnesses are usually self-limiting; which means the symptoms will resolve on their own in a few days. Occasionally, these viruses may also cause headaches, body aches and fever.

For nausea and vomiting:
  • Don’t try to eat anything while you are vomiting frequently.
  • Try SIPS of clear liquids only.
  • Examples of clear liquids are: ice, water, soft drinks, tea, Kool-Aid, ice popsicles, sports drinks, Jell-O. Avoid alcohol while ill.
  • If you are doing well with sips, try to start drinking larger amounts frequently. It is important to try to replace the fluids you have lost through vomiting and/or diarrhea.
  • When you are tolerating fluids well and have not had any vomiting for at least 8 hrs. You can try the BRAT dietBananas, Rice, Applesauce and Toast. (No gravy, butter or jelly, please!) You can also try plain bagels, saltine crackers and baked potatoes. No cream soups, meats, vegetables or salads.
  • When you are doing well on the BRAT diet for at least 24 hrs., you can gradually begin eating a regular diet. You should avoid any dairy products and fried foods for another day or so.
  • You may try over-the-counter medications, such as; Bonine or Dramamine Less Drowsy (active ingredient: meclizine 25 mg.) every 6-8 hours as needed for nausea. Tylenol is a good choice for fever or aches because it is gentle on the stomach.
For Diarrhea:
  • Follow the clear liquid diet as long as you are having frequent watery stools. Beware – sometimes sugar and caffeine may make diarrhea worse.
  • As stools began occurring less frequently, you can try the BRAT diet. (See above)
  • When stools become soft and formed, you can gradually return to a regular diet. You should avoid dairy products and high roughage foods, such as bran, whole grains and salad for a few more days.
  • You may try over-the-counter medications, such as Immodium AD or Kaopectate. Be sure to follow the instructions on the box carefully.

Seek Medical Help If:

  • Symptoms do not improve in 24-48 hours.
  • Increasing weakness, dizziness or passing out.
  • Unable to tolerate sips of fluids for over 12 hours.
  • Blood in vomitus or stools.
  • Severe abdominal pain for more than 4 straight hours.
  • Fever of 101 F or above for more than 24 hours.
  • Urine becomes dark or no urination for 12 hours or longer.
  • If you have diabetes or other medical condition(s) that require daily medications.

Can you tell the difference between symptoms of the flu and the common cold?
Flu symptoms typically come on suddenly and include fever, aches, chills, and tiredness – but how do they differ from cold symptoms?

Cold & Flu Symptoms Chart

FeverFever is rare with a cold.Fever is usually present with the flu in up to
80% of all flu cases. A temperature of 100
degrees Fahrenheit or higher for 3-4 days is
associated with the flu.
CoughingA hacking, productive (mucous producing) cough.
Is often present with a cold.
A non-productive (non-mucous forming) cough
is usually present with the flu (sometimes
referred to as a dry cough).
AchesSlight body aches and pains can be part of a cold.Severe body aches and pains are common
with the flu.
Stuffy NoseStuffy nose is commonly present with a cold and
typically resolves spontaneously within a week.
Stuffy nose is not commonly present with the flu.
ChillsChills are uncommon with a cold.60% of people who have the flu experience
TirednessTiredness is fairly mild with a cold.Tiredness is moderate to severe with the flu.
SneezingSneezing is commonly present with a cold.Sneezing is not common with the flu.
Sudden SymptomsCold symptoms tend to develop over a few days.The flu has a rapid onset within 3-6 hours. The flu
hits hard and includes sudden symptoms
like high fever, aches, and pains.
HeadacheA headache is fairly uncommon with the cold.A headache is very common with the flu,
present in 80% of flu cases.
Sore ThroatSore throat is commonly present with a cold.Sore throat is not commonly present with the
Chest DiscomfortChest discomfort is mild to moderate with a cold.Chest discomfort is often severe with the flu.

Any student that is enrolled in the current semester is eligible to receive services. The Health & Counseling Center cannot provide services to family members of students or UNC Asheville staff.

No. All currently enrolled students have access to Health & Counseling Center services regardless of health insurance coverage. UNC Asheville Health and Counseling does NOT bill third party insurance companies.

No. We do not bill third party insurance companies. We are happy to provide you a detailed receipt to then submit for reimbursement from your own private insurance company. If you have Student Blue Insurance, all costs associated with your visit will be filed for you.

Regardless of which insurance you have, any Health & Counseling Center office visits are covered under the student health fee.

Additional services are offered at a reduced cost. For example: laboratory testing, medical procedures,  pharmacy items, and medical supplies, and contraception.

Fees are due at the time or service.

Yes, it is important to call the Health & Counseling Center to schedule your appointment in advance. Limited same-day appointments are available for Health Services only by calling as early in the day as possible.  Counseling services do not have same-day appointments unless it is an emergency.

Health Services has a limited pharmacy that can dispense medications for short-term needs.

If you have prescriptions you take on a monthly basis, you are able to have them filled at the following locations. These pharmacies are nearby, within walking distance or can be accessed on the UNC Asheville shuttle route.

  • CVS Pharmacy, 612 Merrimon Avenue 828.253.4350
  • The Medicine Shoppe, 760 Merrimon Avenue 828.255.8757
  • Walgreens Pharmacy, 841 Merrimon Avenue 828.225.5113
  • Rite Aid, 846 Merrimon Avenue 828.252.1866
  • Ingles Pharmacy, 915 Merrimon Avenue 828.255.8949

For control substances, like ADD/ADHD medications, please visit this page.

Health & Counseling Center services are completely confidential.

Our integrated treatment team is inclusive and information may be shared within the Health & Counseling staff to maintain continuity of care.

Any release of information that is signed by the student regarding academic and financial information DOES NOT apply to health and counseling services.

Students come in with a variety of concerns including family and interpersonal relationship difficulties, stress management, anxiety, depression, anger, personal growth, and self-esteem building just to name a few.

Counseling services include: individual counseling,  group support, emergency services, and case management services. The Career CenterStudent Success Coaches, and Advising and Learning Support can assist you with concerns regarding career counseling and academic counseling.

We recommend that you meet with a staff member of the Health & Counseling Center before scheduling an appointment with a psychiatrist. This ensure that you will receive the most appropriate services for your needs. Our psychiatrists are available Mondays and Thursdays.

If you miss your appointment or if you do not cancel 24 hours in advance, you will be billed $30.

Friends are often the first to notice something might be not be quite right. You can call the Health & Counseling Center and seek assistance about what you may be able to do about it.

If your concerns are noticed after office hours, please call our FREE after-hours nurse hot line, Health Link at 984-364-4685.

Contact the Health & Counseling Center

Open Monday-Friday 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

118 W.T. Weaver Blvd, Asheville, NC 28804

If you have an immediate emergency, please call Campus Police at (828) 232-5000 and then dial 911.

Regular Hours: (828) 251-6520
After Hours: +1 (888) 267-3675 (NOT for medication refill and/or appointments)
Campus Police: (828) 232-5000
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National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: +1 (800) 273-8255