(Germs, they’re everywhere.)
Many of my residents are starting to get sick… which means it’s that time of year again, unfortunately! You already know Resident Advisor Mak did her research to help you avoid it at all costs. Colds and coughing go around like the plague on college campuses, and especially for freshmen who are exposed to unfamiliar germs. I’m no where near a certified nurse yet (and you can hardly call me a EMT), but I know how to battle off the bugs for as long as possible. I’m going on month two of college without any sicknesses (knock on wood), and here’s what has been helping me keep it that way!
Step 1. Always wash your hands.
Yes, with soap and water. (I’m not sure why they even put hand sanitizer as an option in the bathroom? This is for after you touch the door handle on your way out but have washed your hands prior to application.)
Step 1.5. But, do keep hand sanitizer on you.
For times when you’re in class or maybe there’s no sink around, a portable hand sanitizer you can keep in your purse or backpack likens your chances of avoiding sickness.
Step 2. Don’t share drinks or utensils.
I definitely offer up a taste of my coffee to friends, but if you are trying to avoid getting sick this is not the route to take. Keep your germs to yourself and stay away from your peer’s germs.
Step 3. Drink lots of water.
I carry around my Hydroflask pretty much every where I go, which encourages me to drink a certain amount of water each day. If you are staying hydrated you’re less likely to get sick.
Step 4. Make healthy choices.
I don’t just mean picking the right meals at the dinning hall, I also mean avoid drugs or alcohol. If you doubt that drinking alcohol (a common college student practice) weakens your immune system, you can visit these sources here or here. Eating right and staying in will provide the best prevention.
Step 5. Get lots of sleep.
Another college student commonality is sleep deprivation. We go to sleep late and get up early for classes—bad! This isn’t good for our bodies when we’re trying to fight infection according to the Mayo Clinic.
Step 6. Keep your space clean.
A messy room is a place for germs to harbor. Take out your trash often, use disinfectant wipes, wash your clothes and sheets often, and vacuum.
Step 7. DO NOT TOUCH YOUR FACE.
This is a NO! The second you rub your tired eyes or wipe your cold nose is raising your chances of transferring germs.
Step 8. Exercise.
Keep your body working through regular exercise. If you are using shared gym equipment, make sure it’s clean first.
Step 9. Don’t kiss anybody you don’t know.
Step 10. Supplements question mark?
I say question mark because this is really up to you. Some people hate the idea of supplements, some people think they need them. I’ll be honest with you, if I’m afraid of getting sick or feel like I haven’t been eating the healthiest, I will sometimes take Vitamin C. Perhaps this is a placebo effect but I feel more relieved doing it nonetheless.
If you are already sick, I’m sorry. You can still follow these steps to help speed up your recovery! No one is completely immune, and we’re all likely to get sick at least once this school year, but the smarter you are, the better! (But really, don’t kiss anybody you don’t know. And really, wash your hands.) Feel free to leave a comment if you have any other ideas on how to avoid getting sick in college—or in any setting, really! Stay healthy out there, friends, followers, residents, and students.