Preventing Illness in college is extremely important. Inspired by my recent bought of stomach rollicking, trashcan hugging, vision swimming sickness, and the mad research that went into getting rid of said sickness; I present you with 6 solutions to managing and preventing getting sick while in school. (Please excuse the overwhelming paranoia apparent throughout the piece.)
1. VITAMINS and healthy living.
The best flu prevention strategy is basic: good nutrition, regular exercise, and enough sleep. You can also wash hands frequently and avoid people who have the flu; but really, it’s hard to prevent contact with germs. Keeping yourself healthy is generally the best defense against the flu. Vitamins help you do that. Take Them.
Seriously, if you’re sick, get a travel pack of tissues, if you don’t want to walk around with a box. If for some stupid reason, you don’t have tissues with you, you can sneeze into the crook of your elbow. Just make sure you put that infected clothing into the wash at night. I like to always carry a pack of tissues, incase others aren’t so thoughtful. Riding in elevators and public transportation with sick people who don’t bother to take basic precaution irritates me to no end. So, if you find yourself in a crowded elevator or bus and someone’s sneezing, protect yourself. Tell them to cover their mouths or gtfo. Just kidding. Kind of. You could turn your face away, or cover your face with your sleeve or some aforementioned tissues. Or, you could just tell them to cover their damn mouth before they infect everyone, I’m sure your fellow passengers would thank you for it.
3. WASH YOUR HANDS (or at least use anti-bacterial gel)
Keep that stuff off your hands – so there’s no chance you will spread germs to another surface. Otherwise, your dirty hand will touch a door knob or elevator button. Some unlucky person will touch that knob or button, and now he’s got it. The nasty cycle spreads on. Germs can live on any surface for two hours or more. If someone in your office or school is infected, those germs can reside on anything they’ve touched – desks, phones, coffee pots, microwaves, cafeteria tables, toys, books, etc. Wash those hands! Do it the right way, and do it often, several times a day. When I say wash your hands, I don’t mean a light drizzle of water. Use soap and warm water and rub hands for 15 to 20 seconds. If you don’t have constant access to soap and water (and with our increasingly sedentary lifestyles, who doesn’t have access to a bathroom?) carry anti-bacterial when you’re sick, seriously, they’re $3 at Bath & Body Works. Sometimes, they’re cheaper. You have no excuse.
4. LYSOL SPRAY/WIPES
While this might make me sound a little… crazy, when I’m sick, I Lysol EVERYTHING. Everything I, or anyone else, happens to touch – it gets lysol’d. Doorknobs, sink knobs, shower knobs, keyboard, chair handles, refrigerator handles, etc. You never know where those germs might be lurking.
5. DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING
The paper towel is a very very good friend, as a great way to avoid toughing other nasty people’s germs. Use a paper towel to open a door, turn a faucet, use a towel dispenser, or touch just about anything. You can even use a paper towel or cloth to touch elevator buttons. Gloves would work too, as long as you wash them often and don’t touch your face while wearing them, which brings me to my next, and final, point.
6. NEVER EVER EVER EVER TOUCH YOUR FACE
Seriously, just don’t do it. If you find your hands migrating north of your neck, slap yourself, or have someone slap you (with a paper towel of course, because again, NO BARE HANDS NEAR YOUR FACE). This is THE BEST way to avoid germs reaching your airways. Break those little habits that involve face-touching: rubbing your eyes, picking your nose, biting nails – all of these put germs directly into your system. An added plus is that you’ll eventually break some nasty habits, as well as prevent sickness. If you find yourself doing these things, remind yourself not to. Get some sticky notes and write yourself a note, preferably something along on the lines of, “DON’T TOUCH YOUR FACE MORON OR YOU’LL DIE!!” (I think of this as an instance where self-loathing can help you grow.)
Photo courtesy of europedistrict via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).
Watch the video below about how to prevent stress related illnesses!