Joseph Villers, staff writer
Nurse Pat Parker arrived at Warren Wilson College last August, bringing 25 years of experience as a nurse practitioner with a specialty in college health and adolescent medicine. She reports the most common health complaints on campus to be influenza and upper-respiratory infections. In Sunderland, a persistent mold problem has partly contributed to respiratory problems. To fight infection, Parker recommends students get free flu shots in the Fall, which, while not viable against all strains of flu, will tend to give a person a milder case.
All over the counter drugs are available free of charge at the Health Center, something Pat says many students don’t realize.
Prior to August, a Catholic organization, Sisters of Mercy, operated the Health Center, and did not provide contraception. That has changed. Initially, there were complaints of limited selection, but the Health Center has taken feedback. There are now six bowls of condoms to choose from, as well as dental dams and female condoms. “We’ve ordered many different kinds and gotten good feedback. Also, dental dams and latex-free condoms are available. Extra-large condoms are a big thing people asked for.” Parker said.
Prescriptions are written from nine to 10:30 on weekdays, and there is a ride-share board for local hospitals and clinics.
For students who become sick, Parker recommends quarantining if possible. “Attempt to stay away from sick people, especially when they have a fever; this is when they’re most contagious,” she said.
For the vectors, she recommends they “Rest, drink lots of fluids; wash your hands and don’t sneeze in them, but in a Kleenex or the inside of your elbow.”
While professors can be draconian about students missing class, Parker says that this is how so many people get sick.
According to the student-initiated Wellness Crew, vitamin C and regular exercise can greatly strengthen the immune system.
“Also, yoga, or any sort of movement” said freshman Jules Burke of Wellness.
The crew advises students to wash their hands and avoid drinking after others.
“Get plenty of fluids, eat your fruits, vegetables, raw foods and ice cream,” said junior Wellness Crew-member Lindsay Popper.
Health complaints at the Wellness Center were more general.