Ways To Stay Healthy During Cold And Flu Season

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Nobody likes to be sick. What’s there to like?

You either have to breathe out of your mouth and risk sounding like Brainy from Hey Arnold, or rely on that one narrow passage in your nose that isn’t yet congested to get your air. It’s really a lose-lose situation, which is why you should try to avoid getting sick at all costs.

While you could convert your room into an isolation chamber and stay there all winter, there are easier ways to avoid infection:

  1. Wash your hands:  For the record, this is a habit that should be maintained year-round and not just during cold flu season.
  2.  Don’t share things: The only safe things to share during cold and flu season are intangibles like advice or compliments.
  3. Get enough sleep:  I understand if this can be hard to do in college unless you have your first class at like 2:30. For those of you who were stuck with an 8:00 class, make sure you get your 8 hours.
  4. Glare: If somebody is coughing in your direction, just stare at him or her. When you think the sicko gets your point, go for three seconds longer. The infected person will then turn their attention (and illness) to anywhere but on you, and you’re then safe.
  5. Get a medical mask:  This one requires a lot of confidence. I know from personal experience — I once took a free medical mask from the information desk at the Student Health Center. I only made it about 300 feet before I crumbled under the judgmental looks from my peers and took it off.
  6. Set up a quarantine:  This is in the scenario that you have a sick roommate. Don’t be afraid to lock your roommate in his or her room until they’re healthy again. You don’t want the entire place to be infected do you?
  7. Use hand-sanitizer:  It would really be hard for this one to take less effort.  They’re all over campus, especially in the HUB.
  8. Eat healthy foods:  Small steps you guys. Maybe this weekend you can try chasing your shots with OJ instead of coke.
  9. Exercise:  While walking to your nearest bus stop may seem like sufficient exercise, try to throw in some jogging to your daily regimen.
  10. Get vaccinated:  This is the best way to make sure you don’t get the flu or Pertussis.  There’s good news too! University Health Services is giving out flu shots for $13.  The dates and times are:

October 11: 10 am- 4 pm at the HUB
October 16: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at University Health Services
October 18: 1-5 p.m. at University Health Services

Flu shots are also available by appointment, but will cost you $23 instead of $13.

However, I’m also aware that it’s almost impossible to stay healthy during the whole cold and flu season. In the event that you do get sick during this fall, here are some horrible sounds to avoid making, unless your goal is to get everybody to hate you:

  1. The Cough:  How listening to a person’s intermittent coughs isn’t considered the audio version of Chinese water torture is beyond me.
  2. The Sneeze: Nobody ever sneezes correctly to minimize the spread of germs. Here’s a hint — sneezing into your hand is not correct. That’s just creating a little pool of infection that nobody wants to touch. The correct way is to sneeze is into your elbow.
  3. Blowing your nose:  The fact that I have to turn around to make sure a truck didn’t come into the room and honk its horn should be some indication that you’re blowing your nose too loudly.
  4.  The Sniff:  While it’s hard to make breathing sound gross, the sniff manages to do it, because there’s no cute way to suck snot back into your nose.

Try to be considerate of other people who don’t want your infection or want to hear what’s happening to your body. If my tips to stay healthy don’t work for you, then look of the bright side. Now you have something other than the shameful things you’re doing at college to talk to your parents about when they call!

Photo By: Evan Kalikow

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