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How to Keep Flu Season at Bay

tissuesOne of the most pressing issues of being a college student is figuring out how to ward off the dreaded common cold (or for those unlucky enough, the debilitating stomach virus or flu). Getting sick is one of the worst possible things that can happen to a student during the semester: you don’t feel well enough to go to class, your motivation to write papers and complete reading assignments dwindles, and nobody wants to be within ten feet of you and risk catching whatever it is you have. This is an extremely undesirable situation, especially if you share a room, and have class attendance policies or looming assignment deadlines.

So, how does one avoid getting ill? There are several basic steps to prevent getting sick during the semester.

Exercise and maintain a nutritious diet. This can be extremely helpful in building up immunity to all kinds of pesky viruses. If you treat your body well, it will function more efficiently and, in turn, have some resistance to sickness. If you’re feeling a little under the weather, giving your body the proper nutrition it needs can go a long way. That being said, it’s okay to skip a workout if you’re feeling ill – your body probably needs the extra energy.

Wash your hands. We’ve been told this since pre-school. Seriously, you cannot go wrong with washing your hands – a little soap and water goes a long way. Bacteria and viruses gain access to your system through physical contact. Washing your hands also prevents the spread of said germs. That being said, developing a near obsessive hand washing habit is a bit excessive, but maintaining an acceptable level of good hygiene will probably help you to ward off illness.

Get enough sleep. Not only does getting enough sleep per night (about 7-8 hours for the average person) help you feel attentive and focused the next day, it will also help your body to fend off illness. If you start feeling like you’re coming down with something, it might be a good idea to get some extra sleep.

Limit alcohol consumption. Okay, this is not what the average college student wants to hear. But sometimes it’s better to skip the bar, as alcohol has a direct effect on the immune system. And no, drinking through a cold does not help it.

Avoid sick people. This is another obvious one. Yes, viruses are already in your body, but you can’t ignore the fact that the more you hang around someone that’s sick, the more likely you are to get sick as well. So if your roommate has been hugging the toilet all night due to a stomach bug, or your significant other sounds like they’re coughing up a fur ball, it’s probably a good idea to steer clear until they’re feeling better.

Staying healthy – easier said than done when you’re a stressed out college student, right? I’m a political science student and am not fit to give any sort of medical advice. But the way to avoid getting sick is simple: take care of yourself and try to avoid contagions.

The opinions on this page do not necessarily reflect those of The Sandspur, its staff or Rollins College.


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