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Tips For Getting Through Cold Season Without University Health Services

With the Penn State plague running rampant, cold medicine flying off the shelves, and in-person classes back in full swing, every student seems to be going through some sort of sickness these days.

This fall, University Health Services (UHS) is expectedly running into some capacity issues, at least according to an email sent to students last month. It’s no surprise that scheduling an appointment or talking with an advice nurse over the phone is still extremely difficult during this time.

If you’re down bad without a UHS appointment, try taking advantage of these tips.

Calling The Day Of

Sometimes, UHS will have a ton of canceled appointments when it opens for the day. So, your best bet for getting an appointment could be calling in the morning to see if you can swing in at the last second.

This is obviously far from a guarantee, but it’s worth a shot if you’re in need of some quick assistance.

Scheduling An Appointment Elsewhere

So, what if there aren’t any canceled appointments at UHS? What if the open appointments just don’t fit your schedule?

The next solution is to visit a local urgent care. The two closest in the area are MedExpress and Careworks Urgent Care, which are both located on North Atherton.

The downfall to these is that they both experience long wait times. You can call each urgent care to ask for their current wait times, but you will most likely get told to hang back for a few hours.

However, there are a couple of ways to get around this. MedExpress, located at 1613 N. Atherton Street, has staff break times throughout the day. If you call ahead, you might be able to find out when those breaks will be. Arriving shortly after staffers return from a break could cut your wait time significantly.

Additionally, Careworks Urgent Care, located at 1630 N. Atherton Street, has a website where patients can save their spot for a specific day. However, this does seem to fill up pretty fast.

The best bet for a lot of other urgent cares is to just call and ask for their wait times or if there is anything you can do to be seen without waiting an extremely long time.


UHS is extremely convenient to students living on campus or in downtown because it is within a reasonable walking distance. For those without cars or an Uber account, getting to an urgent care or another medical center can be extremely tough. However, the CATA buses are a simple solution

The two most common apps are MyStop or CATA. Both will show you the CATA bus stops and bus routes in the area. Each app also has a simple interface and is easy to comprehend.

The best bus route that will get you to both MedExpress and Careworks Urgent Care is the Vairo Boulevard route.


Although this isn’t a tip for when you are currently sick, prevention is still the best way to avoid a trip to the doctor’s office. Eating certain foods and taking specific vitamins can help a ton when you inevitably get sick.

Zinc and vitamin D are great for the immune system and can help ease symptoms and recovery. Ginger tea, blueberries, and dark chocolate (in small quantities, of course) are also great for your immune system.

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About the Author

Nicole Oronzio

Nicole is a sophmore majoring in journalism. She is from Aston, PA and loves hiking, watching movies, and trying new things. She has an obsession with her dog, Simba (aka. the love of her life). Just a fair warning: She will ramble on about literally any topic if given the chance. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @nicoleoronzio or email her at [email protected]

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