Sick students flood healthcare clinic

Severe cold and flu season sees high number of students visiting Cheney’s Rockwood health center

By Sierra Schmidt
Contributing Writer

Acute nasopharyngitis has invaded Cheney’s Rockwood Clinic’s walk-in location this fall.

EWU students and Cheney residents have been mistaking the acute nasopharyngitis, a common cold, with the flu. Both are respiratory issues but have different symptoms.

The clinic has not diagnosed one person at the clinic with the flu, according to Rockwood practitioner Carol Gahl.

Rockwood is the only walk-in clinic available in Cheney. So when a lot of people come in, the wait can be up to two hours, according to Gahl.

“We have no control of the amount of people who come in,” Gahl said.

According to Gahl, it is better to make an appointment if it is not an emergency.

Symptoms of a cold are slight aches, stuffy nose, sneezing and a sore throat, according to

A cold will last 10-12 days for healthy people. While healing, get extra rest, cut out caffeine, avoid alcohol, drink a lot of fluids and supplement with vitamin C and zinc, according to Gahl.

To prevent the flu, wash hands frequently, use hand sanitizer and keep hands away from eyes, nose and mouth. Coughing into a sleeve or shoulder will prevent bacteria from spreading, according to Gahl.

“It is so important for everyone to be aware of the fact they are spreading germs,” said junior psychology major Joanna Smith. “I am pregnant so I’m trying to protect more than one person.”

Students should already be taking vitamin C, zinc and vitamin D3 to prevent a cold, according to Gahl.

“It is important for students to simply live a healthy lifestyle,” Gahl said.

The flu is more serious. It includes a high fever, headache, aches, exhaustion, stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat and extreme chest discomfort, according to

The flu can develop into bronchitis or pneumonia, which can be life threatening, according to Gahl.

A cold has over 200 different streams of viruses, is easy to transmit and has no cure.

Students are more likely to catch a cold because of the different surfaces they touch during the day in addition to being in close quarters with students who may be infected.

Walk-ins are necessary only if there are symptoms of a flu. A flu is treated by anti-viral drugs.

Students are advised to stay home if they feel sick and make an appointment if cold-like symptoms persist for more than ten days.

According to Gahl, there is no prescription drug for the common cold. So if someone comes into Rockwood with cold symptoms, they are just spreading germs around the clinic for something that is not an emergency.

“Going to a clinic with a lot of sick people is a good way to either get more sick or get others sick,” said Gahl. “Especially if there are a lot of people with a long wait.”

“I would rather rest on my couch in front of my TV instead of putting myself around a bunch of sick people,” said junior Justin Roberts. “Vitamin C can work wonders for a cold.”

Appointments guarantee a short wait at the clinic.

If going to the clinic is necessary, Rockwood provides tissues, hand sanitizer and masks. Gahl would like to remind students to use proper respiratory etiquette when visiting a clinic.

Over-the-counter drugs that can be used to treat a cold are antihistamines,  decongestants (Mucinex), and cough suppressants (Delsym).

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