Between classes, jobs, relationships and extracurricular activities, college is a flurry of activity. With notes to take, parties to attend and friends to make, the last thing any student has time to do is to get sick.
Coming down with an illness such as the flu can have a student out of commission for up to two weeks, an invaluable amount of time in an atmosphere that moves as quickly as college does. In two weeks’ time, a class could cover material stretching from the rise of the Roman Empire all the way up to the Renaissance – and a sick student could be responsible for knowing all of it when midterms come around.
“(Having the flu is) like being hit by a truck going 70 miles per hour, surviving and then not being able to get up,” said Paige Breuers, an Auburn University junior who was recently sick. “You go through painful muscle aches, shakes, sweating episodes, shivering and destroy countless boxes of tissues. You can't eat food.... You can't do anything.”
Although the winter of 2012-2013 will go down in the history books as being unseasonably warm, people all over the country still managed to contract colds and flus. In fact, some experts expected this year’s flu outbreak to be one of the worst in the last ten years.
However, there are simple steps that every college student can take on a daily basis to prevent themselves from contracting illnesses. These can include hand washing, drinking water every day and working out frequently.
“One way I stay healthy is to work out,” said Moneisha Cunningham, an Auburn junior majoring in chemistry. “You know, go to the Student Act, drink lots of water and drink lots of orange juice. You need those fluids.”
“I constantly keep Germ-X,” said Tiffanie Ridgeway, a sophomore at Auburn. “I have a little (bottle) attached to my backpack, actually. I’m constantly washing my hands and I try to get as much sleep as possible, even though that’s kind of hard, being a college student.”
Julya Welch, a senior majoring in environmental design, takes a different approach.
“I try not to eat out a lot – I try to cook a lot,” she said. “And when I do cook, I don’t eat many fried foods. I try to go running at least once a week. Even if I don’t go running, I’ll go to workout classes.”
Another option students can take is to keep a sick kit on hand for those unavoidable times when they do happen to get sick. A sick kit can consist of items such as boxes of tissues, soups, vitamins, a nasal decongestant inhaler, DayQuil, and medications such as Tylenol Sinus Congestion & Pain bought in advance so a sick student doesn’t have to crawl out of bed and to the nearest store. Plenty of drinking water is also recommended to help flush sickness out.
A sick kit like this can have a student back on his or her feet in days, not weeks. Additionally, as always, flu shots are encouraged as an effective early line of defense.
With the suggestions outlined here, students can spend more time hitting the books and less time sneezing and sniffling. No one wants to remember college as a time spent coughing their lungs out.