How to Avoid the Flu Bug

It’s that time of the year. Germs lurk around every corner, waiting patiently to creep into our weak immune systems and destroy all hope of going to class, or even getting out of bed. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen: it’s flu season.

I’m not a doctor, or a medical professional. I’m not even in a major that is remotely close to any medical profession. I do, however, have many qualifications that allow me to write this piece. When I was 4, I was hospitalized after contracting the flu. At the age of 9, my doctor called me a “sickly child.” And cleanliness is kind of my thing. I suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder and once washed my hands until they were red and chapped because I touched a sick person. Also, big Scrubs fan.

So, yeah, I’m kind of an expert. Here’s a few tips on how you can stay healthy this winter:

1. Wash your hands!

Growing up we were always told to wash our hands before eating, after eating, after going to the bathroom, after shaking hands, when we sneezed, and every other chance available. As a kid I threw that logic out the window and began living on the edge. I was a walking cesspool of germs. My OCD drove me to touch every object in a room. Also for some reason I liked to chew on things, which introduced a lot of germs to my immune system.

Needless to say, I was sick constantly. At one point, I had the flu so bad that I needed to go the hospital. I don’t remember much of it, except for having a needle in my arm and watching Goosebumps for 3 days straight in a hospital bed.

Are you washing your hands yet? I sure hope so.

2. Get an adequate amount of sleep.

For years I lived by Nas’s model “I don’t sleep/’cause sleep is the cousin of death.” Eventually, I grew out of my ghetto stage and realized that taking advice from rap songs could lead to lack of sleep. Or getting shot.

As college students we pride ourselves on our lack of sleep. We laugh about how we can never seem to make time to rest. The much loved Penn State weekends of binge drinking and sleep deprivation can actually have a significant impact on our health. Sleeping less than 7 hours a night can cause your immune system to work at half capacity. We’re aware of this but yet we continue to torture ourselves by never being fully rested.

So you still want to pull all-nighters? Congratulations. Your reward is having the runs for a week straight.

3. Eat properly

I live for unhealthy food. Gluttony will be the eventual death of me. Don’t believe me? Once I ate five miniature cheese steaks for lunch. I spent the rest of the day in the nurse’s office in the fetal position.

Indulging in unhealthy food is sometimes the only way to survive in college. Ramen noodles cost next to nothing but provide a staggering high amount of sodium. The majority of cheap boxed foods provide little nutrition for our bodies. Buying cheap is also incredibly convenient. Cooking Macaroni and Cheese takes less than 2 minutes in the microwave, and 2 years to digest properly (That’s a hyperbole).

Go buy some apples, keep that doctor away.

4. Exercise on the regular

This slender, dented-chest body didn’t happen overnight. It took hours of not exercising to get my body into the sad shape it is today.

Exercise boosts your metabolism, improves your immune system, and helps you maintain a healthy lifestyle. By exercising a few times a week, you can find yourself almost devoid of illness.

That’s what I’ve been told. Maybe I should try it.

5.Get a flu shot you dingus

Every year I get a flu shot so I can spend three months of winter suffering from every other illness imaginable. While bronchitis destroys my lungs, I feel safe in knowing that at least I don’t have the flu.

Last year I didn’t get my shot, and I ended up spending a week locked in my room with the worst case of the flu I’ve ever encountered. The whole experience was one giant blur of sweat and body aches. I’ll never put off getting one ever again.

If you want to prevent the flu, then get a shot. Jenny McCarthy may tell you otherwise, but remember, she used to flaunt her hooters on MTV for attention.

I wrote this post from my bed, which is where I lay sick now. I did not follow my own advice, and I paid for it. If you don’t want to get sick, do as I say, not as I do.

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About the Author

Mario Di Paolo

Mario Di Paolo is a contributor to Onward State. Originally from Montoursville Pennsylvania, Mario is seeking a bachelors degree in Print Journalism and hopes to finish by 2017. As a devoted lover of cinema, Mario can often be found alone in his apartment watching pretentious films he pretends to understand.

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