My sinuses are hurting!! Will antibiotics help?


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One of our more frequent reasons for visiting Student Health Services is sinus infection.  You wake up with pain behind the eyes, a congested nose, maybe some ear fullness and irritated throat.  Could this be an infection in your sinuses?  Sure.  Does it need antibiotics?  That is unclear.  Just as we have been learning about many sore throats, coughs, and other upper respiratory illnesses, a recent study shows that antibiotics may not be needed for the majority of sinus infections. 

One difficulty for your health caregiver is that it is difficult to determine whether a sinus infection is viral or bacterial.  Overall, bacterial sinusitis is uncommon, and is the only infection where antibiotics are needed.  However, neither the color of mucus nor the amount of pain separates the two types.   

Most important factors:

  • Fever – temp. higher than 100.4° F
  • More than10 days of symptoms
  • Symptoms that persist despite over-the-counter medicines
  • Multiple sinus infections in the past year

In the meantime, if you have sinus pain this morning for the first time, check out this site from the CDC for some tips for managing your symptoms at home or in the dorm. 

Also, don’t forget good handwashing!

Roger Miller, MD (OSU Student Health Services

Source: JAMA. 2012;307(7):685-692.

Eyes itchy, red and watery – what to do???

Wilce Student Health Center


Allergic conjunctivitis

My eyes itch terribly; they are red and tearful constantly… Doc, what is going on?

You’re not alone. In 2010, over 40 million bottles of allergy eye drops were purchased over the counter. This year alone, it is estimated that more then 10 million prescriptions for allergic conjunctivitis will be written. With last year’s winter in central Ohio being so mild and followed by a HOT spring and summer, everyone is itching, even those who have never experienced symptoms previously.

What causes allergic conjunctivitis?

Before we answer this; a quick anatomy lesson is in order. The front surface of the eye has multiple layers of tissue, some you can see and some you can’t. When you look into a mirror and see the white of your eye that is called the sclera. Lying directly above this is a clear tissue that is difficult to see without a microscope. It’s called the conjunctiva.  

Okay, so why does my conjunctiva become red and irritated springtime after springtime?

During the spring, plants, trees, and flowering buds release pollen into the air.  These pollens eventually end up in your lungs, nose, and eyes. When the pollen contacts the conjunctiva, it becomes an allergen, initiating an immune system chain reaction called a Type I Hypersensitivity Reaction. It is “hyper”sensitivity because the immune system “over” reacts to the allergen, believing it to be harmful, when, in fact, it is truly just a speck in your eye. When all this occurs, the eyes become red, itchy, and teary.

So what can we do about it?

Luckily, there are many options:

  • Often, the most effective are prescription eye drops recommended by your doctor.
  • There are also over the counter allergy eye drops, these are typically less effective and sometimes not effective at all.
  • If it is a mild case of allergic conjunctivitis a cool compress over the eyes can be effective as well.
  • If you have other allergy symptoms, you may also benefit from allergy pills or nasal sprays from your doctor.

Please remember, if you have a red eye make sure you visit your doctor to rule out other more serious causes like infections.

With the help of your doctor you can manage your allergy symptoms with ease, so if you’re tired of the itchy red eyes, make an appointment at Student Health Services today.  Talk to our appointments staff by calling 292-4321, and you may be booked with our Optometry professionals or with a Primary Care provider.

Good Eye Health!

Adam Fannin (OPTOMETRY IV, OSU College of Optometry Intern)

Julia Geldis, OD (OSU Student Health Services, OSU College of Optometry Faculty)

Still Open for Business!

Wilce Student Health Center

Surfer on the Beach

Q: Does the Student Health Center stay open over the summer?

A: Absolutely!   We are here all summer to take care of your health care needs.  In fact, we’re not so jam-packed over the summer since many students do leave campus, so it is a great time to take care of those routine visits you didn’t have time to get to during the school year: eye exams, dental cleanings, women’s annual exams (pap smears) or STI screenings.  To schedule an appointment, just call our appointment desk at (614) 292-4321.

Our summer hours are 8-5 Monday through Friday throughout the building.  Starting in the fall, we will return to our regular hours, which are 8-6 Monday through Thursday, 8-5 on Friday, and 9-1 on most Saturdays during the Fall and Spring Semesters.  Our pharmacy stays open one hour beyond closing time. 

Check with your health insurance company (including the OSU Student Health Insurance Plan) about benefits here at Student Health Services.  We are now in-network providers for some area plans.  If we are out-of-network with your plan, we are happy to bill them directly for you, but for us to do that effectively you need to register your insurance with us.  You can call (614-292-0113) or visit our Patient Relations Department on the 3rd floor of the Wilce Student Health Center for help with that. 

  • Coming to campus for Orientation, and wanting some vaccines before you return in August? 
  • Entering Health Professional Student needing required testing or immunizations? 

You can get these items during the summer as well.  

Enjoy your summer!

Roger Miller, MD (OSU Student Health Services)

Unusual medical news – Hibachi Hazards



Public Health looks for patterns that lead to hazards, and hazards that lead to illness or death.  Over a 15 month period starting in March, 2011, 6 people were seen in emergency departments within a single hospital system in Providence, Rhode Island, 3 with severe pain with swallowing, and three with severe abdominal pain. 

What was the common thread linking these cases?  Each of them had short pieces of metal lodged in their GI tract, either in the throat and esophagus, or in the intestines. 

Next, it was determined that all six had outdoor grills, and all of the grills had wire brushes for cleaning the grill racks. 

Foreign object ingestion resulted in approximately 80,000 ED visits in 2010.

If you scrape off your grill, wiping it down before firing it up might save you from emergency surgery!

Good Eating!

Roger Miller, MD (OSU Student Health Services)

Injuries from Ingestion of Wire Bristles from Grill-Cleaning Brushes – Providence, Rhode Island, March 2011-June 2012, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly, July 6, 2012 / 61(26);490-492.

Here, help me light this…

July 4th.

Parades…..Picnics…..Flags……Fireworks.  We all have different traditions around holidays, but fireworks and the Fourth of July go together for most people in the United States.

As we prepare for the weekend festivities surrounding Independence Day, some thoughts about safety and fireworks:

  • Nearly 10,000 people are treated in emergency departments EVERY YEAR for fireworks-related injuries – most are children
  • 5% of these are hospitalized
  • In 2007, about 3000 injuries were caused by firecrackers, sparklers, and rockets – the most common fireworks purchased by nonprofessionals
  • Most commonly sites of injury are hands, eyes, head, face, and ears
  • Most fireworks displays are safe for handlers and observers when done by professionals
  • Most home fireworks are illegal under various local, state, and federal laws
  • In 2006, $34 million in damaged property resulted from fireworks-related fires

So play it safe and leave the colorful explosions to the professionals.  You can learn more about firework safety here


Source: USPCSC Fireworks Factsheet 6/26/12

Roger Miller, MD (OSU Student Health Services)