How to avoid getting sick on campus

Staff Writer

Courtney Muenchow | Staff Writer

With a year filled with not only colds and the stomach flu, but also the threat of influenza, getting sick seems inevitable. Especially for the majority of college students living in dormitories with a floor of other sickness-prone individuals. You know you’re in for a good virus when you can hear your neighbor hacking up a lung through the wall. Usually, that means you’re next.

So, what can you do to avoid the spreading illness? There are a few options for your course of action, actually.

The best way to avoid getting sick is to avoid people. That’s a huge sacrifice on your social life, of course, but so long as you stay in your room and away from your roommate, if you have one, germs have a much less likely chance to spread to you. If you do choose this option, make sure to keep cleaning chemicals on hand always, and use them three times a day to disinfect the entire room. Voila, no sickness (or social life) for you!

If you’re not a huge fan of option one, however, there are some other things you can do. Living in a bubble is another option, which grants you your social life back, at least. One of those sterile bubbles, however, is not easy to come by, so perhaps another option is better.

Slightly less effective, but certainly tastier, is using Vitamin C as a guard against illness. We’ve all heard that this vitamin helps with sickness, and besides, who doesn’t love a good orange or some strawberries? If you don’t like those fruits, feel free to insert your personal favorite fruit. Chances are, it contains some amount of Vitamin C. Now, this option is not completely effective, but it may help at least a little bit in fighting off disease. It also has the plus side of not banning you from your social life and, of course, it sure is the tasty way to help in prevention of getting sick.

No matter which pieces of advice you have already taken (or not taken), one thing to add is washing your hands. Especially when people around you are sick, make a pit stop to the sink every now and then and wash away the bacteria on your skin before you reach for that communal bag of chips of that shared fruit salad. You definitely bought fruit salad, right? Make sure to keep your hands clean before you dig in!

In all seriousness, though, the best thing you can do to keep healthy is take care of yourself. Vitamin C is good, yes, and hand-washing is a must, but also make sure to sleep regularly, eat enough, and exercise. If your body is healthy, it is more likely to take care of those annoying colds and the flu before you even notice you’re sick. As a fellow college student, I know how difficult it can be to manage time well enough to keep up with sleep, meal times, and exercise on top of the homework, classes, work, and other obligations in your life.

Of course, I’m no expert in this area and, unless you were actually thinking about taking the hermit lifestyle and human bubble options seriously, I don’t have a magical way to eradicate all the illness from your life. I’m no genie! However, do remember your resources here on campus. Health services is there to help and can probably give out far better tips than I have. They’re also there if you do get the dreaded viruses and infections, despite the wonderful advice I’m sure you’re following to avoid these pains. Use the resources you have, and try to stay healthy!

If you do get sick, I only ask that you go against the “sharing is caring” rule. Sharing is not, in this case, caring!

Photo by Krystal Schulte