Health and Wellness Information

Taking care of your body and mind is especially important as an university student studying in a different country. Healthcare systems differ throughout the world, and it is important to be familiar with the services and care available to you, both on campus and off.

  • Medical Care in the U.S.

    Healthcare services differ greatly from country to country, so here are a few things to keep in mind about your health needs before arriving at Wesleyan. We also advise you to have a complete physical and dental check-up before you leave home.

    See a doctor immediately if:

    • You have a fever of more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 Celsius); 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit is normal. Also go to a doctor if you have a fever for more than a few days.
    • You see blood when you go to the bathroom or vomit.
    • You have an injury that will not stop bleeding or if you cannot control the swelling.
    • You have hit your head and feel dizzy or nauseous

    Not sure how to prepare for your appointment? Click the link below for important information on what to bring and prepare for your appointment and how to advocate for yourself. We also provide a list of helpful phrases to help you make sure you receive all the information that you need during your appointment.

    Read about Preparing for Your Doctor’s Appointment
    What to Bring and Prepare:
    • Bring your insurance card, identification, and medical history
    • Arrive early (to fill out forms) but expect to wait
    • Write down what you want to talk about 
    • Be prepared to explain when the symptoms started, what the symptoms are
    • Know your family medical history
    • Your list of medications (current and previous)
    • Your list of allergies (and what the reactions are)
    • Know how much the co-pay is (a payment to be made at the time of medical service by the insured person for covered services)


    Advocate for Yourself

    It can be easy to get lost in the U.S. healthcare system if you do not speak up. To get good healthcare, you need to ask questions, make sure you are understood and make sure that you get what you need. Even U.S. citizens struggle with this. Here is some advice on how to do that.

    Let doctors, nurses, and administrators know if you do not understand them: Request them to speak slower, if that would help. Ask for pamphlets, diagrams, demonstrations, website video links, and anything else that might make it easier to understand.

    Do not be afraid to ask doctors or nurses to speak slower or louder if that will help you: Doctors are not public speakers. Do not expect them to be good at it.  

    Ask for a translator at hospitals: Even if your English is excellent, there may be medical terms or complicated procedures that are difficult to understand. If you know you are going to need to have a difficult conversation, call the hospital in advance and arrange for a translator to be there. If they do not have access to a speaker of your language, many hospitals provide translators over the phone.

    Helpful Phrases

    If you are at a doctor’s office or in a situation where you need to talk about your health, here are some phrases that might be helpful:We advise a complete physician and dental check-up before you leave home.

    • Could you repeat that please?
    • I don’t know what that word means. Could you explain it? 
    • Do you have any pamphlets about that topic? 
    • Can you show me a diagram of how that works? 
    • Who should I call if I have questions later? 
    • When should I start feeling better? 

    Your doctor should tell you when you should start feeling better and what symptoms may be a problem. Call the doctor if you are not feeling better by the time the doctor said you would or if you experience anything unexpected. You are expected to be responsible for monitoring yourself after you leave the off

    If you get home and realize that you did not understand something, call the office and ask to speak to your doctor’s assistant. Most likely, you will leave a message and they will return your call. Plan what you are going to ask in advance.

  • Wesleyan Campus Services

    Davidson Health Center

    The Davison Health Center is Wesleyan University’s campus health center. Services provided include sick visits, allergy and immunization services, travel consultation, laboratory and dispensary services, and specialty clinics for gynecological care, sexual health and wellness services, HIV counseling and testing, and nutrition counseling.

    For a full list of services offered at Davis Health Center, hours, and other important information, please visit the Health Services website.

    Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

    Being a college student can be extremely challenging and stressful at times. Seeking out counseling, guidance, and support from trained therapists and professionals is an important step for many students during their time at university. Taking advantage of these types of services does not have the stigma attached to it as it may in certain parts of the world and is not seen as a sign of weakness.

    Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) offers individual psychotherapy, medication management, therapeutic groups, consultation and education. Counseling is free and confidential for short-term mental health issues. If long term care is needed, CAPS can help you find a therapist or psychologist. Visit the CAPS website for more information. 

    Crisis Information: CAPS On-call: 1-860-685-2910 or visit the CAPS Crisis Hotlines webpage

    Flu Shots

    Every year, Wesleyan is impacted by influenza (the flu) between November and March. Many students become sick and are forced to miss classes. Wesleyan offers a flu shot (a vaccine against the most common varieties of flu) every year at its Flu Clinic. It is covered by your Wesleyan Health insurance.

    If you cannot go to Wesleyan’s flu clinic, you can also find the shot at most pharmacies. It should be covered by your health insurance, but ask first. Once you have the shot, you are responsible for paying for it.

  • Health Insurance

    All international students are required to have health insurance. Please visit the Wesleyan Health Services Health Insurance website for additional information.

  • Medication in the U.S.

    Prescription Medication

    Remember to bring any prescription medication you take with you in their original containers. Prescription medications tend to cost more in the U.S., so bring enough supplies to last you for a while.

    If possible, have your prescriptions translated into English. Refilling them will be much easier if you do. Another option is to bring the scientific names of the prescriptions.

    It is a good idea to have your doctor write a letter explaining any chronic medical problems or issues that you may have, what has been done for you to date, and the treatments you may be under.

    Non-prescription (Over the Counter) Medication

    Every country has different methods of distributing medications. If you are from Latin America, you may be surprised at how few medications you can buy at a pharmacy whereas if you are from Asia, you may be surprised by how many. Since the medication that you use in your country for colds or other common conditions may be hard to find in the U.S., you might consider bringing a supply of whatever you typically use.

    Remember to always follow the directions on the bottle and if you need help, ask the pharmacist. It is their job to help you, so take advantage of their services. For more information, please ask someone at Health Services.

    Click on the link below to learn about common types of medication in the U.S. for pain relief, allergy and sinus issues, upset stomach, and cuts and minor wounds.

    Read more about Medication in the U.S.

    Common Types of Medication

    Here are some of the more common medications you may need that you can buy over the counter. We have listed both the actual names of the medications as well as some common brand names. Many people know a medication by its common brand names rather than the actual name of the medication. You may have to read the ingredients on the bottle to figure out exactly what it is.

    Pain Relief

    • Acetaminophen is also called Tylenol (brand name). It is a pain medication and helps relieve fevers. It works well for headaches, flu, allergy symptoms, and cold symptoms. 
    • Ibuprofen is also called Advil and Motrin. It is an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever. It works well for sprained ankles, sore muscles, bumps, bruises, and headaches. Follow the directions on the package and always take it with food. 
    • Aspirin, also called Bayer, Easprin, or Ecotrin. Aspirin is similar to Ibuprofen in that it is an anti-inflammatory that helps relieve pain. Follow the directions on the package and always take it with food. 
    • Creams like Icy Hot are helpful on sore muscles if you’d rather not take a pill.
    • Menstrual pain medications like Midol are a mix of medications designed to help with pain, cramping and other menstrual symptoms. 

    For stronger pain medications, you will need to see a doctor. Never borrow pain medications like oxycodone or percocet from a friend as they are addictive and can have serious side effects. 

    Allergy and Sinus Medicine

    • Diphenhydramine, also called Benadryl, battles allergic reactions. It works particularly well if you have a rash from an allergic reaction. Follow the directions on the package and see a doctor if it isn’t working within 24-hours. 
    • Loratadine (Clariton) and cetirizine hydrochloride (Zyrtec) are antihistamines which relieve sinus issues due to allergies. They are not as effective for colds.  
    • Decongestants are designed to clear your sinuses and are effective if you have a cold and may work for allergies. Sometimes other medications contain them and will be labeled “D”. For example: Sudafed D. 
    • Cough medicine relieves your cough by making your coughs more “productive.” You should cough less, but have more phlegm (the jelly like substance you cough up). Be careful with cough medicine because it can make your drowsy. Don’t drive while taking it until you know how your body will react.
    • Eye drops like Visine relieve burning or itching eyes. 
    • Hydrocortisone cream can be used for rashes and insect bites to relieve itching. 
    Upset Stomach
    • Bismuth subsalicylate or Pepto-Bismol. This is a pink liquid that is good for calming your stomach if you have eaten something that upsets it and results in pain or diarrhea.  
    • Calcium carbonate also known as Tums or Rolaids are good for gassy stomachs. 
    • Omeprazole also called Prilosec, Zegerid are something you take regularly if you have acid reflux, which means that the acid from your stomach is coming up your throat. 
    • Loperamide also called Immodium are anti-diarrheal. Be careful taking these because they may prevent whatever is upsetting your stomach from leaving your system.  
    Cuts and Minor Wounds
    • Rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide are used to clean wounds and help them from becoming infected.  
    • Antibiotic ointment is a cream that will help a minor wound heal faster and make it less likely to get infected. 

    Other helpful information

    Anti-drowsy formulas are helpful if you need to stay awake, but can make you jittery (hands shaking and nervous behavior). They also can prevent you from getting the sleep you need when you are sick. Use them with caution.

    Prescription Medications: Every country has different laws about which medications are regulated and which are not. In the U.S., you generally need a prescription for antibiotics, narcotics, and any drugs that the Food and Drug Administration has decided may be addictive, have negative side effects, or may be harmful if mixed with other drugs.

    To get a prescription, you must go to a doctor. They will either give you a sheet of paper with the prescription written on it or they will send your prescription electronically to the pharmacy.

    Different forms of medication

    • Regular versus extra strength: Extra-strength medication has a larger dosage of the medication. Be careful to read the directions carefully so that you do not take too much. 
    • Capsules are coated and easier to swallow
    • Gels are time released and enter the system faster than capsules or release the medication more slowly over time.
  • Dental and Eye Care

    Dental

    Dental care in the U.S. is quite good, but also very expensive. While all Wesleyan students are required to have health insurance coverage, it does not cover dental procedures. Wesleyan offers a supplemental dental insurance to help cover these costs.

    Eye Care

    Students who wear contact lenses should plan to bring a pair of prescription glasses in the event of eye problems.There are two types of eye doctors in the U.S.:

    Optometrists: This is the doctor you visit for glasses or contact lenses. There are many to choose from and there are also many places to buy glasses. The prices may vary, so you should do a little research before deciding where to buy your glasses.

    Ophthalmologists: This doctor can do surgery on your eyes and should be seen if you have a serious issue. Many are covered by your insurance. Before you see an ophthalmologist, you should go to Health Services and ask for advice.

  • Physical Wellness

    Exercise

    Freeman Athletic Center

    As a Wesleyan student you have access to the Freeman Athletic Center which includes a gym, pool, and an indoor and outdoor running track. Visit their website for operational hours.