Health Services Q&A

What do I do if I feel that I have sprained my ankle?

We recommend that you are seen by a physician as soon as possible if:

  • You are unable to put weight on the ankle to walk following the injury OR
  • If there is an obvious deformity of the ankle OR
  • If there is a significant amount of swelling immediately following the injury

As these maybe signs of a more serious ankle injury or even a fracture (broken bone).

For all other ankle sprains we recommend that you avoid walking on the ankle until you can do so pain free. We recommend that as soon after the injury as possible you elevate the ankle above the heart, apply ice for 20 minutes at a time (at least several times per day) and you should take over the counter Aleve (Naproxen-generic), Advil or Motrin (Ibuprofen-Generic) as long as you do not have any allergies or been told by a clinician not to take those medications. Remember that these medications should only be taken per the instructions on the bottle for pain, swelling and inflammation. Sports Medicine Specialists and other clinicians are available at Campus Health Services, Monday thru Friday for evaluation of any sports related injuries. For an appointment call 480-965-3349.

Back

Things You Can Do Every Day to Help Yourself Feel Better and Reduce Stress
 

There are many things that happen every day that can cause you to feel stressed, ill, uncomfortable, upset, anxious, or irritated.

Read through the following list and Check off the ideas that appeal to you and give each of them a try when you need to help yourself feel better. Make a list of the ones you find to be most useful, along with those you have successfully used in the past, and hang the list in a prominent place-like on your refrigerator door-as a reminder at times when you need to comfort yourself. Use these techniques whenever you are having a hard time or as a special treat to yourself.

  • Reach out to friends or family. Calling or visiting someone important to you is a great way to reduce stress and get the support you might need. Sometimes when we feel stressed out we tend to get socially isolated, making our stress-level worse. Calling a friend/family member can help you use your social network to improve your mood.
  • Call one of the ASU Campus Counseling Centers. Counseling and mental health services are provided at each of the four ASU campuses (Downtown campus, Polytechnic campus, Tempe campus, and West campus). ASU students may seek services at any of the campus counseling centers, regardless of their college affiliation. Each campus counseling center provides confidential individual counseling, group counseling, psycho-educational programming, and consultation services for faculty, staff and students. Counseling staff have training and experience in issues facing university students and are committed to helping them adjust to campus life and meet their academic goals. For more information, visit: Counseling Services.
  • Do something fun or creative, something you really enjoy, like crafts, needlework, painting, drawing, woodworking, making a sculpture, reading fiction, comics, mystery novels, or inspirational writings, doing crossword or jigsaw puzzles, playing a game, taking some photographs, going fishing, going to a movie or other community event, or gardening.
  • Get some exercise. Exercise is a great way to help yourself feel better while improving your overall stamina and health. The right exercise can even be fun.
  • Do something routine. When you don't feel well, it helps to do something "normal"-the kind of thing you do every day or often, things that are part of your routine like taking a shower, washing your hair, making yourself a sandwich, calling a friend or family member, making your bed, walking the dog, or getting gas in the car.
  • Get some little things done. It always helps you feel better if you accomplish something, even if it is a very small thing. Think of some easy things to do that don't take much time. Then do them. Here are some ideas: clean out one drawer, put five pictures in a photo album, dust a book case, read a page in a favorite book, do a load of laundry, cook yourself something healthful, send someone a card.
  • Do a reality check. Checking in on what is really going on rather than responding to your initial "gut reaction" can be very helpful. For instance, if you come in the house and loud music is playing, it may trigger the thinking that someone is playing the music just to annoy you. The initial reaction is to get really angry with them. That would make both of you feel awful. A reality check gives the person playing the loud music a chance to look at what is really going on. Perhaps the person playing the music thought you wouldn't be in until later and took advantage of the opportunity to play loud music. If you would call upstairs and ask him to turn down the music so you could rest, he probably would say, "Sure!" It helps if you can stop yourself from jumping to conclusions before you check the facts.
  • Be present in the moment. This is often referred to as mindfulness. Many of us spend so much time focusing on the future or thinking about the past that we miss out on fully experiencing what is going on in the present. Making a conscious effort to focus your attention on what you are doing right now and what is happening around you can help you feel better. Look around at nature. Feel the weather. Look at the sky when it is filled with stars.
  • Do a relaxation exercise. There are many good books available that describe relaxation exercises. Try them to discover which ones you prefer. Practice them daily. Use them whenever you need to help yourself feel better. Relaxation tapes which feature relaxing music or nature sounds are available. Just listening for 10 minutes can help you feel better.
  • Listen to music. Pay attention to your sense of hearing by pampering yourself with delightful music you really enjoy. Libraries often have records and tapes available for loan. If you enjoy music, make it an essential part of every day.

Back


Depression:

What is Depression?

Depression is a serious medical illness; it's not something that you have made up in your head. It's more than just feeling "down in the dumps" or "blue" for a few days. It is feeling "down" and "low" and "hopeless" for weeks at a time. People with depression do not all experience the same symptoms. The severity, frequency and duration of symptoms will vary depending on the individual and his or her particular illness.

Symptoms include:

  • Persistent sad, anxious or "empty" feelings
  • Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and/or helplessness
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions
  • Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • Overeating, or appetite loss
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
  • Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment

Treatment

A variety of treatments including medications and short-term psychotherapies have proven effective for depression. If you believe you or a friend are experiencing depression, talk to you health care provider and/or call one of the ASU Counseling Centers. Counseling and mental health services are provided at each of the four ASU campuses (Downtown campus, Polytechnic campus, Tempe campus, and West campus). ASU students may seek services at any of the campus counseling centers, regardless of their college affiliation. Each campus counseling center provides confidential individual counseling, group counseling, psycho-educational programming, and consultation services for faculty, staff and students. Counseling staff have training and experience in issues facing university students and are committed to helping them adjust to campus life and meet their academic goals. For more information, visit: Counseling Services.

Back


Cough

A) What can cause cough?
  
I) There are many different causes of cough, but the most common ones we encounter here at ASU are caused by:

     a) Colds which are viral infections of the nasal passages, throat or airways make up 75-80% of the reasons for cough seen at Campus Health. Sometimes the actual cold gets better and the cough lingers on because of the damage the cold does to our air passages.
     b) Allergies, irritants or just pollutants in the air that irritate the airways and make us cough
     c) Bacterial infections which are much less likely than either colds or allergies.

  II) The majority of viral respiratory infections and mild allergies will resolve with time, but some bacterial infections and persistent allergies/asthma may need further evaluation by a health care provider.

B) When should I see a health professional?
  I) Signs and symptoms (Red Flags is what we like to call them) that should prompt you to get immediate medical evaluation include:
   
     a) shortness of breath or trouble breathing,
     b) coughing up blood,
     c) chest pains
     d) fainting
     e) severe headache
     f) persistent high fevers
     g) persistent joint pains
     h) persistent vomiting
     i) unusual rashes
     j) a history of asthma or other heart and/or lung disease

C) What remedies can I try?
  I) If you do not have any of the above "Red Flags", you may consider trying an

     a) over-the-counter cough remedy (such as guaifenesin), which may be found in Robitussin, Mucinex, etc- be sure not to take more than directed on the package and check with a pharmacist regarding medication interactions if you are already taking any medications. Campus Health Service at Tempe does stock "cold kits" in their pharmacy
     b) Getting plenty of rest,
     c) staying hydrated, and
     d) eating a balanced healthful diet may help.
     e) If you suspect that your cough is due to allergies, then you may consider trying an over-the-counter allergy medication (such as loratadine or cetirizine- keeping in mind that some allergy medication may cause drowsiness).
     f) If you have a history of asthma and have a rescue (or as-needed) inhaler, you may also try a short course of the inhaler to see if your symptoms improve.
     g) If your cough persists or worsens despite trying the above, then you should seek medical evaluation to make sure that you do not need additional treatment. Viral causes of cough may produce colored sputum/phlegm, and most resolve on their own in 1-2 weeks without additional prescription medication (keep in mind that antibiotics do not help with viral infections).

Back


Allergies

A) Do I have allergies? What are the typical symptoms?
  I) Seasonal and environmental allergies are common in Arizona, especially in Phoenix, where the air quality can be poor during particular times of the year. Typical symptoms include:

     a) itchy/watery eyes,
     b) runny nose,
     c) sneezing, and
     d) nasal congestion or stuffiness

  II) Allergies are not typically associated with fevers, dark nasal discharge or persistent deep chest congestion (all of which should prompt you to seek medical evaluation).

B) What causes allergies?
   I) Common triggers for allergies include dust, 
 
  II) pollen, 

 III) trees/grasses,

  IV) animals including cockroaches

   V) mold.

C) What can I do to avoid, minimize and control exposure to allergens?
   I) frequent vacuuming with HEPA filter vacuum cleaners
 
 II) using air filters for bedrooms, etc

D) What can I take for mild allergy symptoms?
   I) over-the-counter allergy medications, such as loratadine (Claritin) or cetirizine (Zyrtec) once daily to help reduce your symptoms.
 
  II) For nasal congestion not responsive to the allergy medications, you can try the decongestant forms of the allergy medications equivalent to Claritin-D or Zyrtec-D,

 III) Please check with the CHS or local pharmacist regarding the different types of allergy/decongestant medications available. Be aware that some allergy medications can sometimes cause drowsiness, and you should avoid taking decongestants if you have a history of high blood pressure or heart conditions unless you review the medication with your primary care physician or nurse practitioner. If your allergy symptoms do not improve with the above medications and controlling your exposure to the allergen, then you should seek further evaluation with a medical provider.

Back