The end of the semester is notoriously known for being the time of year when most students get sick. Having to juggle finals and a potential cold is not ideal, so here are some suggestions that can be easily incorporated into a college student’s schedule.
Wash Your Hands
Hand hygiene is one of the easiest ways to prevent picking up any bacteria that might make you sick. It is suggested that you scrub hands with soap and water for at least twenty seconds to get the best results. If a sink isn’t available, use hand sanitizer! Keep a travel sized hand sanitizer in your backpack or car and use it whenever necessary.
Cover Your Cough
Whenever you feel the urge to sneeze or cough, make sure to do so in the crease of your elbow or into a tissue. Bacteria can be transferred through airborne droplets from a sneeze or cough, so making sure to cover your mouth is very important.
Clean Surfaces Often
Bacteria can hide on any surface: your cell phone, laptop, door handles, etc. Make sure to wipe down these surfaces that are touched often with some disinfectant to reduce your chances of catching bacteria.
While “sharing is caring,” make sure not to share drinks, silverware or other items with your friends. Bacteria can be transferred through many things, so if a friend is sick, make sure to not use something after them unless it has already been cleaned.
Sleep Often and Eat Well
Getting enough sleep is often the biggest struggle a college student faces. However, getting six to eight hours of sleep a night is healthiest and boosts immune system function. Sleep is also an important factor to ward off sickness. Additionally, try to eat as healthy as possible, exercise often and drink plenty of water a day to stay hydrated.
Get the Flu Shot
The annual flu shot is your best bet against getting the flu. While some people do have side effects, the vaccine is effective overall. You may receive one at your local Walgreens, CVS Pharmacy, Target, Walmart or the SNU Health Center.
Nurse Angie Milburn at the SNU Health Center gave me the above tips as well as more. She is a great resource if you need more information about staying healthy. If you want to learn more, you can also visit flu.gov.