Summer/Fall Intersession

Reminder about summer fees and receiving care during summer/fall intersession

Just a reminder… that classes are over*, fees paid with tuition are no longer covering services at SHS. Any visit to SHS will have a $30 per charge from July 30-August 10.

To be eligible to make an appointment for medical care during intersession, you must have been registered this past spring or summer, AND be registered for the fall semester.  New, incoming Pirates are not eligible to receive care at SHS until move in (beginning week of Aug. 13th).

Questions?  Call SHS at (252) 328-6841.

Have a healthy rest of summer and see you soon for move in! For our hours of operation during summer/fall intersession, visit our SHS Hours page.

*some health sciences campus programs do not have an intersession break so classes are ongoing. If this applies to you, you will not have a visit fee once your eligibility is verified in Banner*


word summer written in sand with green, blue, yellow and red flip flops around it

Now that summer has come, many students are not taking classes but they would still like to utilize Student Health Service (SHS). Not in summer school? You may be eligible to still receive care at our offices.

Did you just graduate? Congratulations! SHS cannot continue to provide your healthcare, but we can 1) help you transfer your records to the office of your choice, 2) provide you with a list of local offices if you need help establishing care outside, or 3) we do have a 2 week grace period following graduation if you need to come in for a follow up of an existing problem (i.e. to get a medication refilled, or to finish up treatment for a particular problem or concern). Please note, there is a $30 visit fee to be seen during the 2 week period.

If you did not graduate, but are just not taking classes in summer school, you may still be eligible for care at SHS. In order to qualify for services in the summer when you are not taking classes,

  • you must have been enrolled this past spring AND
  • you must be registered for fall classes

If you meet those criteria, you can be seen at SHS for a special summer fee. The summer fee for SHS is necessary because you are not taking classes for the summer or paying any tuition, so you are not paying the usual health fee.

There are 2 options for paying the summer fee for care at SHS:

Per visit fee $30.00
Need multiple visits? Pay $60.00 for unlimited visits per summer session.

First summer session fees at SHS are charged May 14-June 19.
Second summer session fees at SHS are charged June 20-July 27.

Once summer classes end, care at SHS is $30 per visit from July 30-August 10.

Questions?  Call SHS at (252) 328-6841.

Have a healthy summer!


May Intersession Hours and Fees

Now that spring semester is coming to a close, Student Health Service has a change in operating hours for the May Intersession period, May 7-May 11 for both SHS locations (Main Campus and Health Sciences Campus {HSC}).

  • Sat/Sun May 5-6: SHS is CLOSED. There are NO weekend hours in the   summer.
  • Monday, May 7: Both SHS are also closed for a staff development event.
  • Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday May 8-10*: both SHS locations are open from 1:30pm-5pm.
  • Friday May 11*: HSC SHS is open 7:30am-11:30am; Main Campus SHS is open 7:30am-5pm (Pharmacy open 7:30am-11:30am).

*A visit fee is required during this period to be seen as a patient at SHS. The fee is $30 per visit, in addition to any other charges you may incur during your appointment (lab, pharmacy, xray, etc). The reason there is a visit fee is because during intersession, no student fees are supporting campus services. We are open as a courtesy and convenience to students even when there are no classes, but your tuition and fees do not cover this period of service.

If you need care when SHS is not open, do not forget about our free 24 hour nurse line. Just call our main number below and wait on the line. This service is available to all ECU students.

For more information about our intersession hours or the visit fee for service, call us at (252) 328-6841.

Spring Break Hours of Operation

Whew! We’ve almost made it to Spring Break, Pirates!!!

Hours at both of our locations will vary from normal during Spring Break week–please check out the info below.

Saturday/Sunday March 3-4

Monday/Tuesday/Thursday/Friday, March 5-6, 8-9
Open 1:30pm-5:00pm

Wednesday, March 7

Saturday/Sunday March 10-11


Monday/Tuesday/Thursday/Friday, March 5-6, 8-9

Open 1:30pm-5:00pm

Wednesday, March 7


Don’t forget, even if SHS is closed you have access to our FREE 24hr nurse advice line if you are an enrolled student by calling (252) 328-6841. You can call it from Greenville, wherever home is if you go home on break, or wherever your path may lead during the break. Enjoy your break and be safe!!!

Student Health never gives antibiotics!

chart from CDC showing bacterial infections and viral infections


We hear it often, especially during cold and flu season. It is the most common reason parents call to talk to our Director. It leads to negative reviews on social media sometimes. It sounds something like this……

Students come in asking for a zpack by name because “that’s the only thing that works”

Parents call and are upset we didn’t “do anything” for their student

“My doctor at home just calls me in an antibiotic”

“Student Health told me I have a cold but I really have an upper respiratory infection!”

“My snot is green so I know it is bacterial”

“You told me I have a virus, but I went to another facility and got an antibiotic”

And finally………………………”Student Health never gives antibiotics!”



Sore throat, cough, nasal congestion/drainage, fever, aches, ear pain, sinus pressure, and headache are some of the most common reasons for visits to Student Health. As you see from the chart, VERY few need antibiotics.

Some important facts to know:

  • 90-98% of sinus infections are viral (and even in bacterial cases, antibiotics do not necessarily help)
  • 90-95% of sore throats in adults are NOT strep
  • over 200 strains of the common cold exist
  • bronchitis should not be treated with antibiotics
  • most adults experience 2-4 colds annually, each lasting 7-10 days
  • colored snot means NOTHING in regards to whether the cause is bacterial or viral
  • high fever can be present in either bacterial or viral infections

chart from CDC showing bacterial infections and viral infections


So how do Providers know whether a patient needs an antibiotic or not?

Providers at Student Health follow national treatment guidelines, which aid diagnosis and treatment planning. The Centers for Disease Control has an excellent chart that you can check out here to see why we make the decisions we do. Part of the diagnosis is on patient reporting of symptoms, duration of illness, etc and the other is based on physical assessment, such as vital sign readings, visual inspection of eyes/throat/nose/ears, and listening to lungs (among other things depending on symptoms).

Do we give antibiotics? Of course we do–when it is the medically appropriate treatment.

Yeah, but wouldn’t an antibiotic help anyway????

NO. Incorrect antibiotic use causes a whole host of problems. People tend to forget that antibiotics can have side effects, some which may even make a patient feel worse than their original illness! Allergic reactions, stomach upset, diarrhea, yeast infections, and rashes are just some of the common side effects people can experience with antibiotics. Another issue is drug resistance–every time you take an antibiotic that you do not need, you are contributing to the fact that the antibiotic is less effective over time to bacteria. Did you know that by taking an antibiotic, you can actually help unleash a dangerous different bacteria into your gut, one that can lead to hospitalization and even death? (Don’t believe me? Check out  info on C.Difficile)

Superbugs like MRSA exist now because of incorrect use of antibiotics, and the scary thing is, our ability to fight these super infections is limited or in some cases, there is no way at all to treat them! And what about cost? Prescriptions are not always cheap. Why take a medication that won’t help, may hurt, leads to drug resistance, and costs money?

Health care providers have a duty to prescribe responsibly and to only use antibiotics in acute illness when a patient shows signs that a bacterial infection is present.

So you aren’t going to help.

Here is the part that comes into conversation with a lot of our patient/parent feedback about viral infections: if you are not giving an antibiotic, you are not doing anything to help. The hard truth is this: with most illnesses, including flu, bronchitis, upper respiratory infections, colds, sinus infections and most sore throats, THERE IS NO MAGIC FIX. We always advise patients on the best way to treat their symptoms to hopefully get some relief, but the only thing that cures is TIME. Illnesses can take days or WEEKS to resolve (yes, weeks.) Rest, good nutrition, light exercise, and increasing fluid intake help. We recommend which over the counter medications to take, and provide prescriptions for cough medications or inhalers if warranted; our on site pharmacists are also happy to help patients decide what may help their symptoms. Having a pharmacy right inside Main Campus SHS makes it easy for patients to pick up what they need to start feeling better.


“You told me I have a virus, but I went to another facility and got an antibiotic.”


Our advice to patients would be to always ask why you are, or are not, receiving an antibiotic. Ask what guidelines are being used. Ask why a provider thinks an illness is viral or bacterial. Any high quality provider will be happy to share information and education about their clinical decision.

We hear stories of “urgent care gave me an antibiotic for my bronchitis” (cringe) or “the ED diagnosed an upper respiratory infection and wrote me a zpack” (AKA, you have a COLD. Double cringe) or, possibly the most irresponsible, “I called my doctor at home and he called me in an antibiotic since that always helps” (ugh….)

Some outside facilities may not be willing to practice evidenced based medicine when it comes to antibiotic prescribing because that may mean a patient will be unhappy (and therefore will not pay to come back). We cannot control what other offices do, but we can insist that our facility follows recommendations and best practices. Just because you can walk out of another office with one or more prescriptions does not mean it was the medically sound thing to do.


Possibly the most important part…..that many patients miss…..

While most illnesses are viral in nature, we ALWAYS tell patients that if they are not getting better, something suddenly worsens, or if they have any emergency symptoms such as difficulty breathing, inability to put their chin to their chest, severe headache, chest pain, high fever that does not respond to medication, or prolonged vomiting, THEY NEED TO BE RE-EVALUATED. Infections that start out as viral, or appear early on as viral, can lead to bacterial infections that do need antibiotics or other treatments. Most patients will recover from viral illnesses on their own, but if that is not the case, we will always be glad to see patients for follow up appointments. The great thing about Student Health is that if you pay fees with your tuition, you do not have to pay to be seen and evaluated….so never hesitate to come back with any new concerns, symptoms that are not improving, or other questions about your care.


Our goal is help the ECU campus community be as healthy as possible. By communicating how we form diagnoses and treatment plans, we hope patients and others will feel more educated and confident that safe and appropriate antibiotic prescribing is a important part of the care we provide at Student Health Services. As always, feel free to drop us a line at with your health or service related questions.

Stay well, ECU!



Antibiotics Aren’t Always the Answer

Appropriate Antibiotic Use

CDC Treatment Guidelines

I spy with my little crusty eye…………..

clipart image of eye


Often students come in to be evaluated for “pink eye”…but what does it mean if you have redness, irritation, and/or crusty eye(s)?

And what do you need to do??????



Why is my eye red?

  • Although there is more than one cause of a red eye, the most common cause is conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, is a common eye condition that affects both children and adults.  It is caused by inflammation of the conjunctiva which makes the blood vessels visible giving the eye a red/pink appearance.

I woke up and my eye was crusted shut.  I need an antibiotic right?

  • Actually, most cases of conjunctivitis are caused by a virus. The most common virus to cause conjunctivitis is the adenovirus which also causes the common cold. Antibiotics will only treat conjunctivitis if it is caused by bacteria.  It is more likely to be bacterial if you only have symptoms in one eye and you have thick yellow, white or green eye discharge that recurs throughout the day.  Conjunctivitis can also be caused by allergies and irritants.

Do I need to see a healthcare provider?

  • You should seek care if you wear contacts, have moderate to severe pain, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, intense redness, weakened immune system, symptoms that do not improve, symptoms that worsen, or if you have a pre-existing eye condition. You can make an appointment at Student Health Services online, by phone, or in person to have your eye evaluated.

Are there any treatments I can try at home?

  • If you do not have the symptoms listed above, there are a few things you can try to relieve your symptoms including over the counter (OTC) antihistamine/decongestant eye drops, OTC eye lubricant drops and warm or cold compresses. The OTC eye drops can be picked up without a prescription at any pharmacy including the pharmacy at Student Health.  You should also avoid wearing contacts until your symptoms have resolved.

Can I still go to class?

  • Absolutely! Even though it is very contagious if it is caused by a virus or bacteria, you can prevent spreading it your peers with good hand hygiene. It is spread by direct contact, contact with secretions, or contact with contaminated objects/surfaces. Avoid touching and rubbing your eyes. Frequently wash your hands with soap and warm water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Avoid sharing makeup and eyeglasses.


References: CDC, UpToDate


Happy New Year! and unfortunately, welcome to flu season…………

fluview graphic of US states showing every state is having widespread flu activity

fluview graphic of US states showing every state is having widespread flu activity


We are seeing an increase of flu cases here at Student Health, which mirrors the activity across the United States. Here is some important information about flu and what to do if you (or someone close to you) gets sick.

Signs of the flu: sudden onset of fever, body aches, fatigue, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache. Rarely it can cause diarrhea or vomiting, but influenza and the “stomach flu” are NOT the same thing. Flu makes you feel horrible, fast. Like hit by a truck horrible.

What to do if you are sick: stay away from others until you have been fever-free for 24 hrs without having to take fever reducing medication. Take ibuprofen/tylenol for aches and fever, drink a lot of fluids, rest, and cover your sneezes and coughs with a tissue that you throw away. WASH YOUR HANDS. Are you high risk for flu complications?  Read this and if applies, call us at (252) 328-6841.

  • Do you need a friend to pick up food for you at the dining hall? You can fill out this form and let your buddy grab you something to eat.
  • Do you need to let your professors know you are sick?  Log onto Pirate Port and use the “Flu Self Reporting Form”. Be advised: this is NOT an excuse. It does let your professors know you are ill and they may work with you on missed work.

What to do if your roommate or someone you love is sick

If you aren’t sick, here are a few things to do to try to avoid the flu:

  • get a flu shot–although the best time to get vaccinated is early fall, it is not too late. Student Health has some vaccine available or visit one of your local retail pharmacies, urgent care centers, or your primary medical provider’s office.
  • Avoid sick people–if your friend says they don’t feel well, maybe you should cancel that study session or lunch date.
  • Don’t eat, drink, or smoke after others.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth–we don’t realize how much we introduce germs into our system just by our habits.
  • Wash your hands way more than you think is necessary. Also, alcohol based sanitizers do work against flu, so get you a bottle to keep in your bag.
  • Surfaces are gross–doorknobs, chair rails, keyboards, money, pens, phones, etc all can harbor flu virus particles. Remember to clean your hands often especially after touching items others have used.

A few FAQ:

  • Does SHS test for flu?
    Sometimes. In many cases though, testing is not helpful since the treatment for flu is based on symptoms, not test results, so your treatment is the same regardless of whether or not you have a test. Right now there is a national shortage of flu tests, but as flu becomes widespread in communities there is less need to test since we know the virus is circulating.
  • Should I see a doctor?
    In most cases, if you are healthy and have no underlying major medical issues like asthma, pregnancy, diabetes, HIV, heart conditions, cancer, etc, you do not need to see a health care provider since flu typically resolves on its own.  However, if you have severe symptoms or feel that you are not improving, you need to call your doctor or if you have an emergency, call 911.
  • Can SHS give me a note to miss class?
    No. SHS can not give class excuses. While we do not want students going to class ill, decisions about class attendance policies rest solely with instructors. Students should notify their instructor when they have the flu.
  • If I have flu, do I need Tamiflu (antiviral medication)?
    Again, probably not. Learn more here. If you have a severe case, or are at high risk for complications, then your doctor will probably prescribe an anti-viral; however, low risk otherwise healthy people do not need prescription medication for flu. Tamiflu has side effects of its own and while it *may* shorten duration of illness by 24 hours or so, it will not take symptoms away. It is indicated for helping prevent serious complications in high risk patients, but it is not a magic bullet for making the flu go away in otherwise healthy individuals.

Still have more flu related questions?  Email us at

Also, don’t forget: anytime we are not open, you always have the 24hr nurse line available to you for medical advice. Call our main number, (252) 328-6841, and listen to the instructions for speaking with a nurse.

Student Health continually monitors the flu situation. Look to for updates and please follow us on Twitter (@ECU_SHS) and Facebook (ECU Student Health Services) for the most up to date information for campus.



Still on the fence about the flu shot?????

image states "keep health and get your flu shot"

image states "keep health and get your flu shot"


If you are opting out of a flu shot because of some rumors you have heard, let us help fact check the claims.

If you decide to change your mind and get vaccinated, call us at (252) 328-6841. We have a small supply of flu vaccine left….get it while you can! Our cases of people being sick with the flu are increasing, so don’t wait much longer to get your flu shot.

Is it too late to get my flu shot? No. We are starting to see an increase in influenza cases at SHS. This is likely to persist for the next 6 weeks or possibly longer. The flu shot offers full protection about a month after receiving it, so if you get it soon, you may still benefit from it.

I heard the flu shot wasn’t very good this year. Why should I get it? We don’t know how well the flu shot will work this year. The flu virus mutates quickly and that can make the vaccine less effective. Last year’s flu vaccine (2016-2017) was about 39% effective against all circulating types of influenza. The CDC is predicting that this year is likely to be similar. However, the flu virus mutates quickly and that means sometimes the vaccine is just not a good match for the types of virus that are floating around. That being said, the flu vaccine has been shown again and again to reduce complications of the flu such as pneumonia and to reduce hospitalizations and deaths. This suggests that those who get the vaccine are getting some protection from it, even if they do happen to catch the flu.

I got the flu shot one time and it made me sick. The flu shot cannot give you the flu. There is no live virus in the shot. It is not uncommon, though, for people to feel a bit achy after the shot. Sometimes they will develop some sinus drainage or headaches or mild elevations in body temperature. This is not the flu. The purpose of the flu shot is to put your immune system on guard against the flu. This mild ill feeling is likely an indicator that the shot is doing its job—your body is reacting to it. If you get the shot and then have fever (temp greater than 100.4), that would be an uncommon reaction and is more likely to be a different viral illness—not related to the flu shot.

There is excellent information (and much more detail) about the flu shot on the CDC website. The address is Search:flu shot.

~Dr. Ashton Johnson, SHS Physician

Winter Break/Intersession Hours of Operation

 decorative image of snow covered clock on ECU campus

Student Health hours of operation at both locations will vary around the upcoming winter holiday break.

**Please note: student fees do not cover services during University intersession and holiday breaks. SHS visits may be subject to a $30.00 fee from December 18-January 3, 2018.**

Main Campus SHS:

Thursday, December 14
CLOSED 11:30am-1:30pm

Saturday-Sunday, December 16-17:

Monday, December 18 – Friday, December 22:
Open 1:30pm-5:00pm only

Saturday, December 23 – Monday, January 1, 2018:

Tuesday, January 2:
open 8:00am-12:00noon and 1:30pm-5:00pm (closed 12:00pm-1:30pm)

Wednesday January 3:
open 9:00am-12:00noon and 1:30pm-5:00pm (closed 12:00pm-1:30pm)

Thursday, January 4:

Friday, January 5:
open 8:00am-12:00noon and 1:30pm-5:00pm (closed 12:00pm-1:30pm)

Health Sciences Campus SHS:

Thursday, December 14

Monday, December 18 – Friday, December 22:
open 1:30pm-5:00pm all week

Monday, December 25 – Monday, January 1, 2018:

Tuesday, January 2:
open 1:30pm-5:00pm

Wednesday, January 3:
open 2:00pm-5:00pm

Thursday, January 4:

Friday, January 5:
open 1:30pm-5:00pm

Please see our Hours of Operation for full details.

Don’t forget:  anytime SHS is closed, you still have access to medical advice.  Call 911 for emergencies, but if you just want to talk to a nurse about an issue, call 328-6841 and stay on the line to be transferred to our free, 24 hr nurse line. You can also find other options on our After Hours Care page, or you can submit a question to

Have a wonderful holiday break, Pirates!!!

Turkey Week Hours

Gobble, gobble!

Due to the holiday week, SHS will have a change in our normal operating hours.

Monday/Tuesday, Nov. 20 & 21:  normal hours at main campus SHS and at Health Sciences SHS.

Wednesday, Nov. 22:  Main campus will be open 9:00am-11:45am and 1:30pm-5:00pm (closed 11:45am-1:30pm for lunch); HS SHS will be open 1:30pm-5:00pm.

Thursday, Nov. 23-Sunday, Nov. 26:  both locations are CLOSED.  Enjoy the holiday break!

Don’t forget:  any time SHS is closed, you still have access to medical advice.  Call 911 for emergencies, but if you just want to talk to a nurse about an issue, call (252) 328-6841 and stay on the line to be transferred to our free, 24 hr nurse line. You can also find self care information for treating your problem on our webpage, or you can submit a question to

Happy Thanksgiving Pirates!!!

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