A symphony of sneezes and coughs has recently begun to welcome students as they enter their classes, a painful reminder that illnesses are spreading at Binghamton University, and any student could be the next victim.
While entering the United Health Services (UHS) walk-in clinic on Vestal Parkway or stopping by the Decker Student Health Services Center on campus, students are being greeted by a slew of tissues, hand sanitizers and face masks for covering coughs. Both health services offer treatments to aid patients in combating the illnesses prevalent this season.
Anthony Consolazio, lead physician for the walk-in clinic at UHS in Vestal, said this year seems to be worse than last year for sickness, with an increased number of patients coming in with the sniffles.
“Yearly fluctuation goes up and down,” Consolazio said. “Last year, it wasn’t as bad. The year before, flu was very high, so it’ll vary year to year.”
To treat these illnesses, UHS usually offers screening tests for their patients to determine whether their illnesses are treatable. Antibiotics or over-the-counter medications are usually best to alleviate the common symptoms patients may be facing. Consolazio said flu season is approaching, and although it is not yet here, there has been a high volume of other respiratory illnesses and colds so far this year.
“Actual ‘flu’ we haven’t seen yet,” Consolazio said. “It’s a little bit early in the season for that. Typically, the peak for flu can be anytime from November through March, so usually around here it’s January and February.”
According to the Decker Student Health Services Center website, flu shot clinics will be available beginning in October, similar to last year’s initiatives. Decker Student Health Services Center is an on-campus facility, and some students, such as John Weckerle, an undeclared freshman, are preparing to visit if they find themselves suddenly ill.
“I’m aware that health services on campus exist, but I don’t really know much about it,” Weckerle said. “If I wanted to, I could just look online, but I haven’t taken advantage of them yet.”
Decker Student Health Services Center’s walk-in hours are from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., while appointments are offered from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, according to their website. Students such as Dimitri Gouvoussis, a freshman majoring in computer science, said it has been difficult to seek help with his sickness because of the Health Services Center’s limited availability.
“Every time I’ve wanted to go, it seems that I’ve always had class or an assignment due because Decker is only open from 8 p.m. to 3:45 p.m., which is dumb,” Gouvoussis said.
Daniel Lin, a senior majoring in mathematics, said the price of treatment is too much for some students.
“The co-pay for University-based health services is way too expensive, even with Medicaid,” Lin said.
And others, like Tom Bravata, an undeclared freshman, would rather not seek medical help at all.
“I’ve been sick for about three or four days — I’ve got the stuffy nose, lots of coughing and some dripping nose as well. It’s really horrible,” Bravata said. “I’m sure there [are] nurses and doctors as well, but I’m gonna stick to the Tylenol.”