Summer Health for Princeton Students

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

University Health Services and Environmental Health & Safety want to ensure you have a safe and healthy summer at Princeton. Here are some important tips to help you do that:

Access Health Care 

For routine care, visit McCosh Health Center during business hours

For non-urgent needs, Counseling & Psychological Services (CPS) is available to you for counseling and psychological support throughout the summer. 

For urgent or emergency care, or when McCosh Health Center is closed, see where to access care

Stay Hydrated

You can quickly become dehydrated in summer heat, especially if you are active with sports and games.

  • Be aware of the signs of mild to moderate dehydration (e.g., dry mouth, increased thirst, dizziness, headache, fatigue, dry skin)
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Use sports drinks containing electrolytes (like Gatorade) when working out longer than an hour at a time.
  • Avoid drinks that are high in sugar or contain caffeine – these ingredients can further dehydrate you.

Avoid Sunburn and Protect Eyes

The sun is the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and not using protection can result in sunburns and burnt corneas or other vision problems.

 If you will be in the sun:

  • use broad spectrum sunscreen with at least 30 SPF about 15 minutes before sun exposure;
  • pack a lightweight long-sleeved shirt and a hat for particularly sunny days;
  • apply one ounce (about two tablespoons, or the length and width of your thumb) of sunscreen to uncovered skin;
  • remember to protect easily missed spots:
    • ears
    • tops of feet
    • back of hands
    • back of knees
    • hair part
    • lips
  • protect your eyes by wearing hats and sunglasses that protect against UVA and UVB.

If you develop sunburn, take a cool bath or shower and put a cool wet cloth over the affected area. You may apply aloe or an antibiotic ointment, but avoid regular moisturizing skin lotions, as they can trap heat in the skin.

Keep Cool

Most of our dormitories are not air conditioned and are not set up to accept portable air conditioners. All windows are openable and have screens, but you may also wish to have a fan.

Avoid Illnesses

Living in close proximity or spending extended periods of time with others can increase the risk of spreading an illness. Protect yourself from common illnesses, like the cold or flu, with these practices:

  • avoid sharing anything that comes in contact with the mouth (e.g., water bottle, drinking cups, eating utensils, lip balm).
  • wash hands with mild soap and warm water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer often, especially before meals.
  • eat a balanced meal, full of vitamins and minerals from fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains, to support the immune system.
  • get enough sleep. Aim to get 6-8 hours each night to stay healthy.

If you do get sick, in addition to the practices above, you can prevent the spread of your illness to others by covering your nose or mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.

Mosquito-Borne Illnesses

While mosquitoes around the world may transmit illnesses such as Zika, dengue fever and malaria, in New Jersey there have been no cases of local transmission of these illnesses. However, mosquitoes here may carry West Nile Virus and other viruses, which can cause mild to serious illness.

For prevention of mosquito bites:

  • wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants;
  • stay in places with air conditioning and window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside; and
  • use an insect repellent of your choice.

For more on preventing bug bites, visit

If you are traveling, take precaution to prevent mosquito bites. Read more information about Zika virus at

Ticks and Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease is a serious illness spread by deer ticks. New Jersey is one of 14 states that have the most Lyme Disease reported. 

Initial signs and symptoms generally occur three days to a month after exposure and may include a circular rash around the bite, fever, chills, headache, fatigue and joint and muscle pain.  If not treated with antibiotics, you can develop stiff and swollen joints, rashes, muscle weakness, abnormal heartbeat, and nervous system problems. 

  • Avoid direct contact with ticks by avoiding wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter. Walk in the center of trails or on sidewalks.
  • Check for ticks each day. 
  • If you do find a tick:
    • remove it using tweezers to grasp the head and mouth, as close to the skin as possible, and slowly pull straight out without twisting. 
    • wash the skin with soap and water, and
    • contact a physician if symptoms develop.

For more information about mosquito- and tick-borne illnesses in New Jersey, visit​ 

Report Bats and Animal Bites

The University has a protocol for handling potential exposure and evaluating whether treatment is necessary. Rabies is a rare viral infection transmitted by exposure to saliva of an infected animal. Without treatment, it is almost always fatal. If medical treatment occurs shortly after the exposure, rabies can be prevented; however, once symptoms develop there is no known effective treatment. For more information, visit

If you have any animal encounter on campus, notify the University immediately.

  • Animal encounters are defined as either direct contact or sleeping in a room with a bat present. 
  • If you wake up and find a bat in the room where you were sleeping, you have had an animal encounter.
  • Do not touch or try to capture bats or animals on campus.