The Master's College

Guidelines for Illnesses

*Note: Seek Help = Consult a Doctor

How Can I Tell If I'm Getting A Cold Or The Flu?

Colds and the flu are the most frequent health complaints and are generally caused by viruses NOT bacteria; so antibiotics won't help - and there's still NO CURE! Symptoms of the common cold are "localized" in the head and you may have sneezing, a runny nose, stuffy head, headache, sore throat, cough, hoarseness, fever below 100.5 and it can last 7 to 10 days. The flu includes many of the common cold symptoms and may also be accompanied by a tired feeling, aches and a fever above 100.5.

Nasal Congestion:

Try steam and hot drinks to help drainage. Don't use decongestants for more than three days without consulting a physician. Clear nostrils gently. Blowing hard through one nostril, or while squeezing both nostrils to nearly closed, may cause mucus to infect ears and sinuses. SEEK HELP if mucus is yellow or green; if there is pain in the ears, neck, or sinuses; or if symptoms last more than 10 days.

Productive Cough:

A "productive cough" is one that clears mucus from the throat. To make mucus easier to cough up, use a cough medicine containing an "expectorant", and inhale cool mist or steam or gargle with warm salt water. If mucus is green, yellow, or bloody, SEEK HELP!

When You're Turned Inside Out -- Is It Something You Ate?

Mild food poisoning probably strikes everyone at some time. Vomiting, cramps and diarrhea may begin one to six hours after eating. Food poisoning is usually caused by eating food that has been left out too long (i.e. dairy products, potato and chicken salads, sausage, ham, dried beef, chicken or turkey gravy, mayonnaise, foods prepared with mayonnaise such as salads, sandwich spread, etc.) Partially cooked meat and poultry stuffing, leftovers and canned foods that are reheated are also likely culprits. SEEK HELP IF YOU SUSPECT FOOD POISONING.


Be sure you're getting enough fiber (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc.), fluids, and exercise. Avoid laxatives. There's no rule that says you must have a bowel movement every day!


Overeating, stress, emotional upset, and sensitivity to certain foods may produce pain, a burning sensation, belching, or gas. Try antacids such as Maalox, Mylanta, Rolaids, or Tums. SEEK HELP if the problem continues.

Genital/Urinary Infections:

Frequent urination, pressure on lower mid abdomen, fever over 100, burning with urination. Drink more water, drink cranberry juice and seek help.

When It's "All In Your Head":

Muscular tension from stress accounts for 80% of all headaches. Stress may be psychological (worrying over grades, relationships, etc.) It may be physical (reading while slumped in a chair, drinking too many caffeinated beverages, eating too much chocolate, simply "overdoing it", etc.) The pain is dull, steady, concentrated in the front or back of the head, or like a band around the head. Try warm compresses, massages, relaxation, and Tylenol or other aspirin substitutes.


If a headache arrives with lightning speed and severity, or is accompanied by vision problems, mental confusion, stiff neck and fever, pain in an eye, ear, or on one side of the head.

Be A Partner With Your Health Care Provider:

Remember...although you've consulted a health care provider, you are the one responsible for your recovery. Follow all instructions correctly! If you have any doubts concerning instructions...ask!!!

Sudden Illness:

Unusual illnesses can occur i.e. shortness of breath, wheezing (probably due to asthma), chest pain, and unexplainable drowsiness. Ask "Are you taking any medications?", "Do you have any illnesses you know of?" If they are on medication but forgot to take it, have them take their medication. If their chest hurts when they press on it, it is muscular pain. They can take Advil (if not allergic to aspirin) or Tylenol.


People live normal lives with seizures. They take their medication regularly to control the seizures. If someone has a seizure: remove any objects that may injure the person having the seizure. Put a blanket or pillow underneath the head to prevent injuries. If it is the first time a person has a seizure, encourage them to SEEK HELP.