Common sense for the common cold

Coughs and sniffles may be spreading through your classes faster than the latest TikTok trend, but a few simple steps can drastically cut your chances of suffering during this flu season. 

Vaccinations are an important step, but they aren’t a cure-all – the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) adds the current flu vaccine is only 58% effective in preventing infections.  

Between 22 and 31 million people caught the flu between October 2019 and February – with close to 1% of cases resulting in death, according to the CDC

Ultimately, prevention is key.

A good diet will go a long way in strengthening your immune system, as will getting enough sleep and physical exercise. 

Chicken soup for the soul, are we right? 

But if you are going to break a sweat, make sure you’re wiping down machines at the gym before and after your workout. You don’t know what germs you may be carrying.  

And, as obvious as it sounds – wash your hands, you nasties. Typhoid Mary can tell you all about how skipping out on a good scrub is a really bad idea. 

If cases around you are particularly severe, take a cue from the Korean fashion influencers and rock a medical face mask (and feel free to add a snail mask while you’re at it). Most doctors offices will offer them free of charge. Even if you don’t have symptoms, fask masks can help prevent the germs from spreading – protecting yourself, your friends, and others around you.

Face masks may not be your style, but we doubt walking around with a stuffy nose is, either.

If these prevention tips don’t work and you still catch the flu, please go to the Health Center as soon as possible.

The Health Center is open Monday through Friday from 8 A.M to 5 P.M. They can diagnose your sicknesses and provide you with flu and cold kits at no cost, so you do not have to worry about going to the store to get your cold medicine.

If you run out of cold and flu supplies before you get to go home, or you get sick on the weekend, take advantage of the self-care station on the third floor on the McCarthy Center. Again, you don’t have to pay anything to make use of the products available. 

If the Health Center does determine you have the flu – they will likely recommend you go home until you are no longer contagious – we recommend you listen to them. Although heading home isn’t an option for everyone, staying in the dorms leads to a greater risk of spreading your sickness to your roommates, and can hinder your ability to heal faster.

Plus, your roommate is probably less willing to cut the crusts off your grilled cheese while you warm up with some soup. 

The Health Center – and your parents, for the matter – will likely recommend drinking plenty of fluids, resting, and taking OTC painkillers like ibuprofen to help lower your fever. 

Finally, please do not go to class while you’re sick. Not only is it no fun to sit through class while you are sick, you are putting others at risk.

We all know how much professors attendance policies can discourage us from taking care of ourselves – but no professor wants you in class if you are going to be blowing your nose every 10 minutes. 

Stay safe this flu season. 

We’ll get through this together.

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