Flu Prevention, CMC-Edition

In the past three weeks, I’ve had the flu. TWICE. Although I’ve been pretty cranky about it, I realize that I have no one to blame but myself – for the relapse, at least. And with the rate of germs spreading on our campus, I figure I could offer a few tips about avoiding the bugs. If you want to the see the light of day for the remainder of flu season, you’ll trust me on these. So do as I say and not as I do:

Steady temperatures ~ With our unpredictable weather, it’s tempting to crank up the heat on a rainy day and crank up the AC/fans when it’s blistering outside. But these variances could be harmful. In winter, high room temperatures will dry your body out, leaving you more susceptible to sicknesses. Constant temperatures help to regulate your body, and are only improved with the addition of fresh air every few hours. I can guarantee that within ten minutes of kicking your shoes off, you won’t even notice the initial temperature shock. Sharing Cups ~ This one’s definitely easier said than done. I can try my darnedest to keep myself from sharing with friends at the dining hall, but Thursday and Saturday nights are a whole different story. Red-cup-sharing could be your downfall. Instead, designate which cup you’ll be drinking from all night. Avoid temptation to sample your roommate’s newest cocktail creation, or just the pour the fresh drink into your personal container.

OJ ~ Even though the suggestion of orange juice as a cold and flu preventative has come under fire as of late, some facts are undisputed. Fluids are essential and crucial to fighting viruses and dehydration. So whatever you drink of choice may be, water or juice, keep it coming. Rather than grabbing a soda at dinner, go for a couple glasses of old-fashioned water. Also, at snack take back a few cups of OJ and store them in your fridge for the week to sip on while studying.

Sleeping Patterns ~ Our schedules are crazy. But, sleep regulation is a big part of avoiding the plague. I fell victim to this – I took a 2-day, 10 hours/day class on the weekend when attempting to recover. After the class, I stayed up late to finish up work. For the rest of the week I got in the habit of going to bed late and taking long naps in the afternoons. Clearly, it messed with my system. So shoot for a longer and consistent period of rest at night to keep your body in check.

Health Center ~ It may seem like a long walk. It can be hard to schedule appointments and make time, but the trip to the health center is worth it. I didn’t go with my first flu case, for whatever reason. Second time around, I experienced hell walking over at 8:00am with a 102-degree fever. But I got some lower-cost decongestants and fever-reducers and started to feel better within hours. The nurse scolded me as well and I will absolutely be back next fall for a flu shot.

Isolation ~ Of course we want to help the sick kids. If you want to help yourself, though, it’s better to keep some distance. You simply increase your chances of getting infected by being close to those infected. When your roommate is sick, take your book outside or your homework to the library. Others getting better does not require you getting worse.

Sources: http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/cold-guide/12-tips-prevent-cold-flu, http://www.fda.gov/consumer/updates/winter_illness121108.html