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How to Avoid Getting Sick

Flu season is nearly upon us, and the only place that may harbor more germs
than a daycare is a college campus. Students living in close proximity and
bringing their own germs from their home states is a recipe for disaster. Here
are some precautions you can take to try and fight infections.

Wash Your Hands

This may seem silly and obvious, but this is one of the most effective ways to lower your chances of catching something. For those of you who skipped “Handwashing 101,” putting your hands under running water is not washing your hands. You might as well just stick your hands in the toilet. Sing your ABC’s or “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” while scrubbing with soap and water. If you are thinking of ignoring this advice, just remember all the tables and surfaces you put your phone on. Think of all the keyboards and doorknobs you touch, and how many times a day you touch your mouth or eyes. Seriously, wash your hands, because someone else probably
didn’t.

Live A Healthy Lifestyle

This boosts your immune system and gives you a better chance of fighting off infections. Taking supplements of vitamin D, zinc and vitamin E may help fight off illness because all are involved in immune function. Eating healthy and exercising will also improve resistance. Keep in mind, eating less dessert is not exactly healthy. Eating healthy includes eating vitamin- and mineral-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables. Living off of frozen meals and carbs is not considered a healthy lifestyle for fighting off infections.

Use Your Sleeve

This goes back to handwashing. If you cough or sneeze into your hand, all those germs are on your hand and you could spread it to other people. Not covering your mouth is not an option. Aim into your sleeve or use a tissue. Not only will you be protecting others, but your fellow classmates won’t hate you for spraying snot all over their homework or your hand, which may be holding the pencil you borrowed.

Sleep

It’s a complex chain of events, but to put it simply, if your body is too tired, it will have a hard time fighting infection. Just think: the less sleep you get, the more sick you could get. This may be a bit dramatic, but if you are well-rested, your body is going to be better prepared to fight infections. Immune functions go down if you are tired, just like your ability to pay attention in class. Skip the all-nighters and do your homework after class. If you don’t take a nap in the middle of prime homework time, you won’t have to stay up late to do it.

Get Your Flu Shot

No, the flu shot will not give you the flu, autism or anything else that someone with no medical background can think of. The flu shot protects you from strains of the flu that research suggests will be the most common this winter. True, getting shots is not as fun as getting a pumpkin spice latte, but it may save you a world of misery down the road.

Don’t Share Drinks Or Food

This should go without saying. You’re making it easier for the germs to jump from you to your roommate by sharing their water bottle, or eating off their plate.

Stay Home

If you’re actually sick, don’t spread your illness to everyone in your class. Sometimes, if you force yourself to go about everyday business, your body may have a harder time fighting off infection. If you feel like you are about to fall over, stay home and rest. It’s all your body needs.

Already Sick?
Here are a few pointers:

1. Take all previous advice.

2. Sleep. Seriously, get your rest. Staying up late isn’t doing you any favors.

3. Drink fluids. And by fluids, I mean water, or even Gatorade, which can help replace electrolytes. Avoid alcohol and soda.

4. Use the over-the-counter meds. They can be your best weapon against a stuffy nose or a headache.

5. If you have a virus, antibiotics won’t do anything to help fight the infection. All taking antibiotics inappropriately does is help to create drug-resistant germs.

6. Switch your toothbrush. Who wants a germy toothbrush anyway?

7. Wash your sheets and towels. Clorox your doorknobs and bathrooms. All your “sick germs” are all over your stuff, guaranteed.