Health Services

The mission of Rhode Island College Health Services is to provide confidential and holistic primary health care to enhance the academic potential of our students. Each student encounter is an opportunity to educate about prevention and risk reduction to promote life-long healthy choices. Health Services is committed to providing high quality, accessible and cost effective services in a non-judgmental atmosphere that values diversity and respects individuality.


Health Services has plenty of vaccine available. Call (401) 456-8055 to make an appointment.

HEALTH ALERTS: Please notify Health Services (456-8055)

Dear Students, Staff and Faculty:

RIC Student Health Services has noticed a recent increase in the number of students both on and off campus who are reporting gastrointestinal illness (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea). Students have reported an abrupt onset of symptoms and are generally recovering within a day or two. We have been in communication with the Rhode Island Department of Health to report these illnesses, to determine a possible cause, and to obtain and follow their guidance to minimize further spread.
The illness is consistent with a viral illness, possibly norovirus. Specific testing is being done and may take a few days to confirm. Antibiotics are not effective, tests are usually not needed, and supportive treatment with hydration is usually all that is needed.
If you are experiencing symptoms, please visit the Health Services website:
or call Health Services at 401-456-8055 and speak to a nurse for advice. Please call Health Services if you:

  • have any symptoms of dehydration (very thirsty, lightheaded, dizzy, or confused);
  • have diarrhea or vomiting that lasts longer than a few days;
  • are vomiting up blood, have bloody diarrhea, or severe stomach pain;
  • have not needed to urinate in the past 8 hours (during the day).

How does one get infected?
People can become infected by eating food or drinking liquids that are contaminated with the virus, touching surfaces or objects that are contaminated with the virus, and then placing their hand in their mouth. The illness is not airborne and requires direct contact with an infected source or surface contaminated with the virus.
Can viral gastroenteritis be prevented?
Yes. To lower the chance of getting or spreading the infection, you can:
Practice proper hand hygiene
Wash your hands carefully with soap and water, especially after using the toilet and always before eating or preparing food. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers may be somewhat helpful in addition to hand washing, but they are not a substitute for washing thoroughly with soap and water.
Do not prepare food while infected
People who are infected with the virus should not prepare food for others while they have symptoms and for 3 days after they recover from their illness.
Clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces
After an episode of illness, such as vomiting or diarrhea, immediately clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces by using a bleach-based household cleaner as directed on the product label or a solution made by adding ¾ cup (12 tablespoons) of household bleach to 1 gallon of water.
Wash laundry thoroughly
Immediately remove and wash clothing or linens that may be contaminated with vomit or fecal matter. Handle soiled items carefully — without agitating them — to avoid spreading virus. They should be laundered with detergent at the maximum available cycle length and then machine dried.

  • Wash your hands with soap and water after you use the bathroom and before you eat and avoid direct contact with a sick person (the virus is not spread through the air).
  • Do not share eating utensils, towels or face cloths with others
  • If you reside on campus and are unable to go home, please stay in your room while ill and wash your hands after you use the bathroom.  Donovan Dining Service will supply boxed meals if needed.  Ask a friend to pick up a box for you.

 Housekeeping is aware of the increase in student illnesses and is providing additional cleaning of surfaces to further prevent the spread of this viral illness.

Treatment of Gastroenteritis or “Stomach Flu”

If you have symptoms of gastroenteritis or noro-like virus (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea), treatment is generally symptomatic.  Since it is caused by a virus, antibiotics are not used.  The most important thing to do is rest your stomach and GI tract by avoiding solid food and dairy products.  Sips of clear liquids are best to prevent dehydration.  Drinking too much at once can cause more vomiting.  Older children and adults can drink sports drink such as Gatorade which will help replace lost electrolytes.  Decaffeinated tea, broth, jello and popsicles are also fine.  Avoid alcohol, acidic drinks such as O.J. or caffeinated beverages.  Do not drink milk until diarrhea is resolved.
Nonprescription medicines such as bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol) or loperamide (Imodium) can be helpful for diarrhea.  Pepto-Bismol can turn tongue and stools black which is a harmless side effect.
Contact Health Services or your primary care provider if:

  • Vomiting persists for over 24 hours or diarrhea for more than 3 days
  • Your stools are bloody
  • You have a fever over 101 F
  • You have symptoms of dehydration (very light-headed, not urinating or urine is very dark in color)

Stomach flu rarely lasts longer than 1-3 days but it may be a week or more before bowel movements are completely normal.


The flu virus spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes near another person. It may also spread when people touch something covered with infected droplets and then touch their eyes, mouth, or nose.

If you have flu-like symptoms (sudden onset of fever with sore throat, cough, body aches, vomiting or diarrhea) and have a chronic medical problem such as asthma, diabetes, immunosuppression or heart disease, please call your PCP (primary care provider) or RIC Health Services (401)-456-8055.  If you are at high risk for complications from the flu you should consult your health care provider when your flu symptoms begin.  Certain antiviral drugs may be recommended to treat the flu.

Warning signs that can signal the need for urgent medical care include difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, chest pain and severe or persistent vomiting.  If someone has the flu, begins to improve and then gets worse again with a return of fever, they should seek medical care immediately!  Go to the nearest emergency room.

Ways to Avoid the Flu:

  1. Wash your hands often throughout the day. Use warm water and soap. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand gel. Outside LinkMORE
  2. Cough or sneeze into your elbow. Flu is spread through coughing or sneezing on other people or into your hands. Cover your coughs and sneezes to prevent others from getting sick.
  3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  4. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious foods.

Office Hours

During the Academic Year
Monday - Friday 7:30am - 5:00pm  
During summer sessions and break periods
Monday - Friday 7:30am - 4:00pm
Phone: (401) 456-8055 Fax: (401) 456-8890


Page last updated: Feb. 4, 2016