Is it a cold? The flu? COVID?

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Since the beginning of the pandemic, feeling any kind of flu like symptoms raises an alarm in our brains that tells us we have COVID and should start isolating and preparing for the worse. Tech has since implemented many preventive measures to help students that present symptoms or have been in contact with a positive case. These measures improve and change as the pandemic evolves. For instance, the university recently informed students that next semester Tech will no longer offer quarantine housing because of the decline in COVID case numbers.

The COVID-19 testing center was set up before campus reopened in the fall of 2020 and has recently been improved so that results only takes a few minutes, compared to three to five days. The Health and Wellness Center is also administering COVID booster shots daily.

Another change has been students no longer need to quarantine if they have been in contact with a positive case as long as they are fully vaccinated and show no symptoms.

So, you are a student at Tech and have flu-like symptoms. What do you do? Where do you go?

Follow along with me as I experienced what I know many of you have too, no stress and no hustle.

It was a Friday afternoon when I started feeling like my throat felt tight, but I put it all on the change of weather and just decided to stay at home. That next Saturday morning, I was feeling completely fine and woke up at 7 a.m. to go out in 33-degree weather because I signed up for Green and Gold Give Back. Getting back home after completing those four hours of community service outside, I knew I messed up and did not bundle up enough. I was feeling stuffy, I had a headache, and I lost my voice. Again, I blame it on the weather and just stay home for the rest of the weekend, taking cold medicine.

Monday morning arrives and I wake up with a fever of 101 with no voice, no energy. Obviously, I start to panic. It cannot still be the weather after three days, right? What if I am already in day four of having COVID and I have not been properly isolating? I email my professors apologizing for missing class and assure them I will be getting tested.

I head over to the Health and Wellness Center’s testing center without an appointment, just hoping to go in there and ask them what to do. I go in and am greeted by Heather Stout, RN, and Brittany Holt, LPN. They are both extremely nice to me and tell me that they will take care of getting me fixed up. I get swabbed and sit there for about six minutes before my results come back negative. After thanking Stout and Holt for how easy they made it, I leave to go back home and continue to take the medicine I had been taking.

Wednesday rolls around, and I am not feeling any better. Once again, panic sets in. What if I had a false negative and have been going to class and around campus while having COVID? And once again, I walk over to the testing center with no appointment. This time, I am greeted by Kyle Wewers, ARPN, and Ashley Shrives, nurse practitioner, and I tell them everything that has been going on since that past Friday.

They both assure me everything will be ok and tell me I would be getting tested for COVID, flu and strep right then but that I would need to come back for a later appointment where I would get my results and they would help me out with my symptoms. When I came back for my appointment, all my tests were negative. I had a bad sinus infection and Shrives prescribed me antibiotics and a cough suppressant that have now made me feel completely good and safe.

Wrapping up, what should you do if you have any kind of COVID symptoms? Call the Health and Wellness Center immediately. Not only will the nurses do everything in their power to help you, but they will also do so as fast as possible and settle any and every doubt you have. The center’s website also has many useful resources, like a “What happens if I test positive?” tab and more.

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