The top 5 questions nurses hear from Dal students

Your medical concerns may not be as unique as you think!

A young woman is seated in a doctor's office, with a medical professional seated across from her. Appointments are available if your questions aren't answered here.

Do you have questions about sex, stress or your health in general? Too shy or too busy to ask in person? You’re in luck, because Dalhousie Student Health & Wellness has an online resource called Ask a Nurse. This page features the most common questions that Dal students ask nurses. No matter what question you have, I guarantee that the nurses have heard it before. Not convinced? Here are the top 5 questions that nurses encounter.


#5: STI tests

What does the Dalhousie Health Centre offer for STI tests?

Changed sexual partners, had unprotected sex, or just want to make sure your sexual health is all in the clear?  The Dalhousie Student Health & Wellness Centre provides self-swabs/urine samples (try not to pee two hours prior to urine samples) to test for the two most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs): gonorrhea and chlamydia. For further testing of STIs such as HIV, Hepatitis B, and syphilis, a blood work requisition can be provided after seeing a physician at the health clinic. These infections are less common so they aren’t tested as often, but tests are still available.

Ensuring your sexual health is so important! Many people with STIs don't have any symptoms and can still pass the infection onto their partners. Getting tested is a good thing (and totally normal),  so don’t be embarrassed! There are also pop-up STI screening clinics around Dal's campuses that only require your health card and self-swabs.


#4: Vaccines

Do I need to get another dose of the Tdap vaccine that I got when I was young? What about the Men B vaccine?

Most children receive the DTaP vaccine around the ages of 4–6 and then receive the Tdap vaccine around ages 11–12.  These vaccines protect individuals from tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis. If you received these vaccines as a child, then you'll only need a booster (called the Td booster) every10 years.

If you aren’t sure if you already received the original vaccine protecting against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis when you were younger, then we recommend you contact your family doctor or the Student Health & Wellness Centre (in Halifax) or Health Services (in Truro) to inquire about the further need for a vaccine update.

Meningococcal Meningitis (Meningitis B or Men B) is an infection spread by direct contact with secretions from the nose and mouth of an infected person. While anyone can get bacterial meningitis, younger populations and students are often more susceptible due to communal living arrangements like residence and shared housing, and sharing personal items like water bottles.

Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent Men B, but the immunizations aren't usually included in routine childhood vaccines. This year, students from Nova Scotia who are living in a communal space for the first time are eligible to have the cost of the Men B vaccine covered. Visit our Men B page to learn more about it and how to arrange for your vaccination.


#3: Anxiety

I'm feeling anxious lately, and it's starting to affect my studies. I want to go in and see someone but my anxiety is holding me back. What do I do?
Managing your mental health can be challenging, and you're doing the right thing by reaching out. It can be overwhelming to seek help in person. Luckily, the Health & Wellness Centre offers an online resource called TAO Self-Help. It’s an online mental health library comprised of behavioural resources, including interactive modules and practice tools. You can complete the components individually or as a set. The best part is that it’s completely free and confidential! It may be a good resource to start with because it's easy to access whenever and wherever you want. It could be the stepping stone to building the confidence to speak to someone face to face. 

When you’re ready, the Health & Wellness Centre in Halifax has trained counsellors who can meet with you. All post-secondary students in Nova Scotia can also call or text the Good2Talk telephone support service (1-833-292-3698), which is available 24/7/365 for any emotional issues.


#2: Flu shots

I got the flu shot earlier this year. Do I need to get it again?

The flu shot is a safe vaccine that helps protect against the flu (influenza). It's important to get the flu shot every year as the flu virus changes yearly. This means that the vaccine also has to change each year based on the strains of the flu virus that are most likely to cause illness to the public. It's best to get the flu shot in October or November before the flu season starts. However, you can get the vaccination any time between October and April. Keep an eye out for the mobile flu shot clinics that will pop up around Dalhousie.


#1: Depression

Who do I talk to about depression? I didn’t want to make an appointment if it wasn’t necessary. Is there anyone on campus who deals specifically with mental health or should I make an appointment at Dal Health?

The Student Health & Wellness Centre in Halifax offers same-day counselling that allows you to speak to someone initially without an appointment. It operates on a first-come, first-served basis. Sessions with the counsellors typically last 30–50 minutes and will help to address any immediate concerns you have. After the initial session, you can make an appointment to further address your concerns. If that seems too stressful, Student Health & Wellness also offers an online course called TAO Self-Help (see Question #3).