Primary Care - Coastal Carolina University
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Primary Care

Treatment of Acute Illnesses

Acne vulgaris, or acne, is a skin problem that starts when oil and dead skin cells clog up your pores. Some people call it blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, or zits. When you have just a few red spots or pimples, you have a mild form of acne. Severe acne can mean hundreds of pimples that can cover the face, neck, chest and  back. Or there may be bigger, solid, red lumps that are painful (cysts). Acne can be treated topically (e.g., lotions or creams) or systemically (e.g., antibiotic pills by mouth).

Asthma is a chronic disease that causes inflammation of the lungs, making it hard to breathe.

Bronchitis is an inflammation of the air passages between the  nose and  the lungs, including the windpipe or trachea and the larger air tubes of the lung that bring air in from the trachea (bronchi). Bronchitis can either be of brief duration (acute) or have a long course (chronic).

Common Cold
The common cold is a viral infection of the upper respiratory system, including the nose, throat, sinuses, Eustachian tubes, trachea, larynx, and bronchial tubes. Although more than 200 different viruses can cause a cold, 30-50 percent are caused by a group known as  rhinoviruses. Almost all colds clear up in less than two weeks without complications.

Conjunctivitis is an inflammation or redness of the lining of the white part of the eye and the underside of the eyelid (conjunctiva) that  can be caused by infection (either viral or bacterial), allergic reaction, or physical irritants such as chlorine in pools or air pollution.

Influenza — commonly shortened to  "the flu" — is an extremely contagious viral disease that appears most frequently in winter and early spring. The infection spreads through the upper respiratory tract and sometimes invades the lungs. Classic symptoms are fever, chills, body aches, headache, and fatigue lasting three to four days, sometimes followed by a dry cough, sore throat and runny nose for about another week.

Intestinal Ailments
Intestinal ailments are common diseases or disorders of the intestine that may cause abdominal pain.

Migraine is a type of headache marked by severe head pain lasting several hours or more.

Skin Rashes
A rash indicates an abnormal change in skin color or texture. Rashes may be caused by skin irritation (which can have many causes) or a rash can be a symptom of something more serious such as an allergic reaction or an infection in the body or skin.

Sore Throat
Sore throat, also called pharyngitis, is a painful inflammation of the mucous membranes lining the pharynx. It is a symptom of  many conditions, but  most often is associated with colds or influenza. Sore throat may be caused by either viral or bacterial infections or  environmental conditions. Most sore throats heal without  complications, but they should not be ignored because some develop into or are caused by serious illnesses.

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
UTIs may be serious infections that should be treated by a doctor. If not, the infection can travel from the bladder to the kidneys. Most cases of UTIs are easily treatable.

Diagnostic Services

An electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) is a test that checks for problems with the heart by recording its electrical activity. An EKG translates the heart's electrical activity into line tracings on paper.

Fingerstick Glucose
Used to check patient’s blood sugar level, this test provides a result in approximately one minute.

Peak flow
Peak expiratory flow (PEF) measures how fast air comes out of the lungs when one inhales fully and then exhales forcefully. PEF is measured using a small handheld device. PEF readings can help to determine if the large airways of the lungs are tightening.

Pulse oximetry
Pulse oximetry measures the amount of oxygen the body's hemoglobin molecules are carrying. Pulse oximetry is an important tool for assessing symptoms related to lung disease or injury, shock, anemia and other conditions.

STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) testing  The following are common STI tests done at SHS:

  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) A human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) test detects antibodies to HIV in the blood. This determines whether an HIV infection is present (HIV-positive). HIV infects white blood cells called CD4+ cells, which are part of the body's immune system that help fight infections. HIV causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), a long-term chronic disease that cannot be cured.
  • Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that is usually spread during sexual contact. It does not always cause symptoms. Gonorrhea tests involve testing a sample of body fluid or urine to determine if gonorrhea bacteria (Neisseria gonorrhoeae) are present and may be the cause of an infection.
  • Chlamydia is the most common bacterial sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the United States. Chlamydia tests involve testing a sample of body fluid or urine to determine whether chlamydia bacteria (Chlamydia trachomatis) are present and may be the cause of an infection.
  • Herpes testing is done to detect the presence of the herpes simplex virus (HSV). An HSV infection can cause small,  painful blister-like sores of the skin or the tissue lining (mucous membranes) of the throat, nose, mouth, urethra, rectum or vagina. A herpes infection may cause only a single outbreak of sores, but in many cases the person will have recurrent outbreaks. A herpes select test is done at SHS to distinguish between HSV type 1 (usually causes cold sores on the lips) and HSV type 2 (usually causes sores in the genital area), such as on or around the vagina or penis.
  • Syphilis tests detect antibodies to the bacterium that causes syphilis (Treponema pallidum) in blood, body fluid, or tissue. The tests are used to screen for or to confirm a syphilis infection. Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that is usually spread during sexual contact, including kissing or oral sex. The RPR test is done at SHS to detect syphilis antibodies.

Strep testing  There are two types of tests to determine if a person has strep throat:

  • A rapid strep test can only determine the presence of streptococcal bacteria, but will not tell if the sore throat is caused by  another kind of bacteria. The results are available in about 20 minutes.
  • For a throat culture a sample of swabbed material is cultured, or grown, in the laboratory on a medium that allows technicians to determine what kind of bacteria are present. Results take 48-72 hours. The test is very accurate and will show the presence of other kinds of bacteria besides streptococci.

Tuberculosis (TB) testing
A QuantiFERON TB Gold test is done to see if you have ever been exposed to Tuberculosis (TB) (Mycobacterium tuberculosis). It is done by a simple blood draw. If you have ever been exposed to the TB bacteria, your blood will react to the mycobacterial protiens in the QuantiFERON TB Gold test.

Urine pregnancy testing
Urine pregnancy tests can detect the presence of a pregnancy hormone (called human chorionic gonadotropin or hCG) in a sample of urine. High levels of hCG are produced during pregnancy.

Urine testing for bladder infection

  • The dipstick contains a specially-treated pad. When the pad is dipped into a urine specimen, it can measure 10 aspects of urine. The results can determine if infection is present.
  • Urine can be checked under a microscope for bacteria and infection-fighting cells. A urine culture may also be sent to the laboratory where a sample is allowed to grow on a medium. This allows technicians to determine the type and number of bacteria present and what antibiotics work best against them.

A procedure where a sample of the patient's blood is withdrawn from a vein into a vacuum tube and sent to a laboratory for testing. This procedure usually takes approximately five minutes.

Visual acuity
Visual acuity testing measures the eye's ability to focus and to see details at near and far distances. It can help detect vision loss and  other problems. The visual acuity exam performed in SHS does not provide clearance for the CCU Scuba Club Team or for South Carolina Driving application.



  • The flu (or influenza) vaccine can prevent a contagious disease caused by the influenza virus, which spreads from person to person through coughing or sneezing. Influenza viruses are always changing. Therefore, influenza vaccines are updated every year, and an annual vaccination is recommended.

Hepatitis A & B

  • The Hepatitis A vaccine prevents a serious liver disease caused by the Hepatitis A virus (HAV).
  • The Hepatitis B vaccine can prevent Hepatitis B. Because Hepatitis B has been linked to primary liver cancer, the Hepatitis B vaccine has been recognized as the first anti-cancer vaccine.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

  • The HPV vaccine is indicated for females and males ages 9-26 to prevent cervical cancer and genital warts caused by HPV types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58. These strains of HPV are responsible for approximately 70 percent of all cervical cancer and 90 percent of genital wart cases. The HPV vaccine can prevent infection with some types of human papillomavirus. HPV infections can cause certain types of cancers including: cervical, vaginal and vulvar cancers in women, penile cancer in men, and anal cancers in both men and women. HPV vaccine prevents infection from the HPV types that cause over 90 percent of these cancers.


  • The meningitis vaccine can prevent four types of meningococcal disease, including two of the three types most common in the United States and a type that causes epidemics in Africa. Meningococcal disease is a serious illness, caused by a bacteria that may cause an infection of fluid surrounding the brain and the spinal cord.

MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella)

  • MMR vaccine can prevent the Measles virus which causes rash, cough, runny nose, eye irritation, and fever. Measles can also lead to ear infection, pneumonia, seizures (jerking and staring), brain damage, and death.
  • MMR vaccine can prevent the Mumps virus which causes fever, headache, and swollen glands. Mumps can also lead to deafness,  meningitis (infection of the brain and spinal cord covering), painful swelling of the testicles or ovaries, and, rarely, death.
  • MMR vaccine can prevent the Rubella virus which causes rash, mild fever, and arthritis (mostly in women). If a woman gets rubella while she is pregnant, she could have a miscarriage or her baby could be born with serious birth defects.

Tetanus (T-dap, Td)

  • The Tetanus vaccine prevents Tetanus which is caused by a germ  that enters the body through a cut or wound. Tetanus causes serious,  painful spasms and rigidity of the skeletal muscles. This neuromuscular dysfunction can be fatal. Tdap vaccine prevents Tetanus as well as pertussis or whooping cough. Whooping cough is a very contagious respiratory infection.

Treatment of Influenza-Like Illnesses

Student Health Services (SHS) will screen students using approved clinical protocols (Influenza-Like Illness (ILI) Surveillance Tool). Students diagnosed with ILI will be provided the following health services:

  • Medical prescriptions for Tamiflu or Relenza, when clinically indicated.
  • Instructions to self-isolate in dorm room, apartment room, room in family home or designated area on campus, until fever free for 24 hours.

  • Facemasks and instructions to wear at all times when out of room/designated area.
    SHS’ Care Bags (i.e., facemask, chicken noodle soup, Powerade, hand sanitzer, thermometer, tissue, ibuprofen and acetaminophen)

  • Instructions to advise roommates and close contacts to call SHS; medical prescriptions will be written for close contacts who meet Centers for Disease Control (CDC) criteria.

  • Printout of the CDC guidance documents on home self-care and caring for others in the home with the flu, and review of coughing and hand washing etiquette;
  • Medical excuses from class/work/activities, until well.

  •  If living on campus, housing will be notified to confirm that proper cleaning mechanisms are in place, and advised to notify dining for meal delivery, as required.

    *All protocol and procedures will be periodically reviewed and updated, as required.

Treatment of Minor Sprains and Strains

A sprain is an injury to a ligament - a stretching or tearing.

A strain is a twist, pull, or tear of a muscle or tendon.

Treatment: Various treatments for sprains and strains can be provided  by SHS including the use of crutches, slings, finger splints, and ace wraps.

Other Medical Procedures

Ear irrigation
It involves the removal of cerumen (earwax) from the ear canal using a stream of warm water which sometimes contains a small amount of hydrogen peroxide.

Eye irrigation
Used to remove a foreign body or obstruction by flushing the eye with a saline solution.

Minor suturing
Small lacerations on the body may be sutured along with staple suturing for head injuries.

Removal/drainage of cysts
Removal or draining of a cyst (swollen fluid-filled lump) may be done for a variety of different reasons.

Removal of foreign body
"Foreign" means "originating elsewhere" or simply "outside  the body." Foreign bodies typically become lodged in the eyes, ears, nose or other body cavities of human beings. Removal technique varies according to where the foreign body is located.

Treatment of burns
Treatment method is dependent on the severity of the burn. SHS will typically clean the burn area, perform a debridement and apply the appropriate dressing.

Wart or skin tag removal
Warts are small, benign growths caused by a viral infection of the skin or mucous membrane.

Wound or laceration
An opening, injury or tear in the skin. Various treatments for wounds and lacerations can be provided by SHS including primary repair of lacerations with sutures, staples or skin adhesive. SHS also provides follow-up wound care with dressing changes and removal of sutures and staples whether placed at SHS or outside facility.

Physical Exams

Physical Exams can be completed at SHS for a variety of purposes. Some of these include: athletic, camp physicals, school transfers, pre-employment, pre-travel physicals.