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McKinley Health Center: Your one-stop health spot

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McKinley Health Center: Your one-stop health spot

The outside of McKinley Health Center located at 1109 S. Lincoln Avenue on Dec. 4, 2017.

The outside of McKinley Health Center located at 1109 S. Lincoln Avenue on Dec. 4, 2017.

Sabrina Yan

The outside of McKinley Health Center located at 1109 S. Lincoln Avenue on Dec. 4, 2017.

Sabrina Yan

Sabrina Yan

The outside of McKinley Health Center located at 1109 S. Lincoln Avenue on Dec. 4, 2017.

By Elani Kaufman, buzz Editor

Going off to college and living on your own for the first time can be both exhilarating and intimidating. There’s a lot happening all around you, seemingly at all times of the day. After a while, you’ll probably get used to navigating campus and get the rhythm of your schedule down.

When you get sick for the first time, though, it can be rough. Being in such close quarters with so many other freshmen means its inevitable you’ll get sick at some point — when one person coughs, the entire dorm catches it.

For precisely that reason, McKinley Health Center is an extremely useful resource for students. Going to see a doctor can be expensive, and McKinley is “free.” Any appointment in its clinics is covered by your tuition and fees, so you won’t have to pay when you get there. Many prescriptions in McKinley’s pharmacy are also at a reduced price with student insurance (more than you’d find at a Walgreens or CVS).

Even better, McKinley offers cold packs — brown paper bags with various over-the-counter cold medications — for free twice each semester. You won’t have to go out and buy ibuprofen, acetaminophen, throat lozenges, decongestants or cough syrup for your sore throat.

Not sure you want to get out of bed to shuffle on over to McKinley? They offer a service called Dial-a-Nurse, where you can call a registered nurse 24 hours a day, seven days a week with any medical questions you have. They can tell you if you should stay home and take basic self-care measures, come in to see a doctor or seek emergency medical assistance. However, Dial-a-Nurse asks that you do not call them if you know you are having an emergency. Instead, call 911 or the appropriate emergency response team.

McKinley accepts both appointments and walk-ins, but you may be seen faster with an appointment. Appointments can be made either by phone or online, and you can choose the doctor you want to see, which is useful if you find one you really like.

McKinley has other resources as well, not just for when you’re sick. If you get injured, McKinley has radiology services on-site so you’ll be able to get that wrapped up as soon as possible.

Along with cold packs, McKinley also offers wound packs, yeast infection kits and sexual health packs. The sexual health packs — unlike other packs — can be picked up every two weeks instead of twice a semester.

Also available are services for sexual health and wellness. The Women’s Health department at McKinley takes both walk-ins and appointments, and offers services such as annual exams, contraception, and STI screening and treatment.

College can be stressful, and with stress, mental health issues can arise, leaving students feeling like they have nowhere to turn. McKinley’s Mental Health Center has a staff of licensed psychiatrists, psychologists and clinical social workers to aid you with whatever you might be struggling with. If you find yourself being part of the 60.8 percent of college students who are dealing with anxiety, you’ll always have someone to talk to.

For Champaign-dwellers, it may seem like a hassle to make your way over to Urbana. Luckily, you can take the 22S bus which drops you right by the front door. You can also take the 12E and 13S, which will drop you off a few blocks away. And if you are just in need of a pack, no doctor’s visit, then you can pick up a pack of your choice at McKinley’s Health Resource Center in the basement of the Illini Union. Just walk in, swipe your iCard, get a pack, and walk out. It’s that easy.

Getting sick on your own can really throw you for a loop, whether it’s the common cold or a more serious bout of the flu. However, McKinley exists for this reason, for students to utilize its many resources, and more importantly, for helping everyone stay healthy.

Elani is a senior in LAS.

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