University Health Service

Cup of tea on a bedside table

This page can help you determine when and how to do self-care, and when it's recommended to call for medical advice. 

For sore throat:

See Sore Throat? Here's What to Do

For fever:

Self-care is okay for fever less than 101° F (38.3° C).

Call for medical advice if you have:

  • Fever greater than 101° F (38.3° C) for more than 3 days
  • Fever that fluctuates above 101° F (38.3° C) several times a day
  • Shaking chills

For cough:

Self-care is okay for dry cough

Call for medical advice if you have:

  • Persistent cough
  • Chest pain
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Foul smelling, brown or bloody mucus

For runny nose and sneezing:

Self-care is okay for:

  • Relatively clear mucus
  • Mild sinus and/or facial discomfort

Call for medical advice if you have:

  • Foul smelling, brown or bloody mucus
  • Severe sinus and/or facial discomfort

For headache:

Self-care is okay for:

GET MEDICAL CARE IMMEDIATELY if you have headache with:

  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Stiffness in neck or back 
  • Mental changes e.g. agitation or confusion
  • Severe headache with fever greater than 101° F (38.3° C) and rash anywhere on the body

These could be symptoms of meningitis, which can be life-threatening

For fatigue: 

Self-care is okay if you have general tiredness

Get medical advice if you have prolonged fatigue

For earache:

Self-care is okay if you have stuffy or clogged ears

Get medical advice if you have pain in ears, or discharge from ears

How to call for advice:

Nurse Advice by Phone is available day and night, which may save a trip to UHS, the ER or an urgent care facility.

Self-care guide:

See also: