It seems like winter has finally come to Morgantown, and with it comes all the added health risks that cold weather and icy conditions can cause.

Lower temperatures increase the risk of contracting an illness, and icy roads or sidewalks can sometimes cause serious physical injuries. Living away from home at college, it can be hard for a student to know what to do or where to go if they are sick or injured. They might not always be sure what resources are available or where to find them.

Carmen Burrell, the medical director for student health services, said students need to be more careful during the colder months in order to stay healthy.

"You definitely have to be more careful with the cold and icy conditions," Burrell said. “The easiest and most important things are to wear appropriate footwear and to dress warmly."

Burrell said the health center sees an increase in cases of common cold, influenza, strep throat and even pneumonia every year when the temperature drops.

The best prevention methods are covering your mouth when sneezing or coughing, avoiding others when they are sick, isolating yourself if you are sick, eating well and sleeping eight hours a night. 

Burrell said the health center accepts both appointments and walk-ins, so it is a great first option for students if they start to feel ill.

"We do have testing ability and can do blood work. We also see a lot of injuries and do have x-rays available," Burrell said. "We're also included in the [Ruby Memorial Hospital's] system, so it's very easy to do referrals."

Visits to the health center are billable to insurance, but there may be a co-pay depending on the type of visit and what the insurance covers. Students can also make appointments for friends and family that may be with them.

Appointments can be scheduled by calling 304-285-7200.

Culture Editor