How To Stay Healthy (When Everyone Else Isn’t)

Happy cold/flu season!

I woke up today with a fever of nearly 101, so I thought I would take this class-skipping opportunity to tell you all how to avoid the sniffles, flu, and fever this winter.

How can I avoid getting sick?

First off, follow all those basic rules that we think we’re “too good” for:

1. Wash your hands often. Avoid hand sanitizer when you have the option to wash your hands. When you use hand sanitizer often, the bacteria you’re trying to kill can actually build up resistance to the disinfectant: rendering it useless!

2. Disinfect doorknobs and other surfaces you touch daily.

3. Change your sheets, especially if they were sitting on your bed collecting dust for the whole break.

4. Most importantly: avoid sharing drinks, food, or air-space with anyone who is sick. If your significant other-or that stranger at a party-is sneezing, you should do the smart thing and avoid kissing them. Yes, there is science behind kissing to exchange helpful bacteria and strengthen your immune system, but this only helps before you’re sick!

Eek! My roommate is sick!

If you get stuck with a sick roommate, like my roommate (sorry Hannah), it might seem like there’s no way to avoid getting sick. It might be harder to avoid them than it is to avoid a classmate or friend, so yes your chances of getting sick will go up.

On top of all the rules above, be extra careful not to share drinks, cups, or silverware. Encourage your roommate to use tissue in order to lower the chances of him/her wiping germs on clothes, or furniture. Disinfect doorknobs, yes, but also remember those other things you both touch daily: microwave/fridge handles, light switches, etc.

I’m sick…what now?

If the inevitable happens, there are things you can do to stop your sick day(s) from being completely miserable.

1. Fluids! Your body is made up primarily of water; it runs nearly every function in your body. When you’re sick, your body is working hard to fight, and needs even more water. On top of this, if you’re sneezing, vomiting, or have the sweats, your body is expelling more fluid than usual. So drink lots of water, tea, and soup!

2. Cold/flu medicine. Ask a friend to make a trip to the store, or even to the Student Health/Services Center on campus! Did you know their cold/flu packs have cold/flu medicine, cough drops, ibuprofen and thermometers? You can grab one from the drawers to the right directly when you walk in!

3. If you have a sore throat, there’s nothing better than honey. You can add it to your tea or lemon water, or just pour it down your throat if you’re feeling particularly daring.

Colds typically last 3-7 days, but don’t make your worried run to the doctor unless your symptoms persist for more than two weeks.

Please don’t go to class, club meetings, or events if you’re sick! Yes, it can really suck to have to miss class the first week of the term (believe me, I know) but the only thing that could suck more is getting everyone else sick.

I think my cold is gone now!

Great! You made it through your cold/flu! There are a few things you should take care of now.

1. Wash your toothbrush (you can just use toothpaste and water). The idea that you need to throw away your toothbrush after a cold is a bit of a myth: chances are very low that the bacteria would survive and re-infect you. Your body has now build an immunity: but why risk it? Just take a minute to wash your toothbrush, or if you so choose, toss it and pick up a new one.

2. Change (or at least disinfectant spray) your sheets, and do laundry.

The last thing you want to do after getting over a cold is accidentally make yourself sick again!

If you get sick, the most important thing to do is take care of yourself so you can get better as quickly as possible: this means staying bundled up in bed, not braving the Monmouth weather.

Open Netflix, get some tea, and give your body the time it needs to get better!

By Quinn Murphy

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