The Freshman Plague: How to Avoid the Unavoidable

Everyone had always warned me about "the freshman plague," but I had always ignored it. Well, I was rudely awoken when I came to AU and experienced one of the horrible illnesses included in the freshman plague, firsthand.

How it Starts and Preventative Measures

Although you may be coming to school and moving in with no trace of a cold or any other illness, that is not the case for everyone which, unfortunately causes germs to be spread immediately. However, there are ways to avoid the illnesses that people bring to campus.

First off, maintain a set sleep schedule and be sure to actually get enough sleep. Three to four hours each night will only cause you to become more tired and more likely to become sick. Sleep is what allows your body to "regroup" and cleanse for the next day. In addition to sleep, it's extremely important to be constantly  drinking water throughout the day. A person in perfect health is supposed to drink, on average, 75 fluid ounces a day. That's a lot, but drinking that much water helps to maintain your immune system and flush out anything bad in your body. Keep a reusable water bottle with you at all times so you always have access to water (while keeping up with the carbon neutral values of AU!!). Some good brands are Hydro Flask and Swell, but a cheaper option is Nalgene water bottles. 

If a consistent sleep schedule and drinking water is not achievable for you, take vitamin C or a multi-vitamin vitamins. Vitamin C helps maintain and strengthen your immune system. It's easy to forget to take care of yourself in college, so taking vitamins is a good way to boost your health despite despite sleep deprivation or dehydration. Apple cider vinegar is also a great way to boost your immune system and detoxify your body. Taking a shot a day in addition to the vitamins will help reduce your risk of experiencing the freshman plague. 

The Plague hits: What do you do?

I, sadly, did not take my own advice well enough and am currently suffering from the freshman plague. But don't worry! There are, thankfully, many resources available to AU wonks on and off campus. 

For starters, the plague comes in many different variations (ear infection, bronchitis, strep throat, the flu, etc) which makes it more difficult for you to self-diagnose and treat. If you're experiencing a simple head cold, the P.O.D market located in the tunnel by Bender Arena has several options when it comes to medicine (Dayquil, Nyquil, Advil, Robitussin, etc). Before even coming to campus, it's a good idea to stock up on tissues, medicine, and cleaning products to be prepared for when the freshman plague hits you (because you are not invincible and it will get you eventually). Pack lots of hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes to kill as many germs as humanly possible.

If you feel simple, over-the-counter medicine won't cure you, the Student Health Center is a great resource on campus and the CVS Minute Clinic is right in Tenleytown. These centers allow students to checked by actual physicians and get prescription medicines in case the plague you a little harder than a head cold. Before going to either, make sure you have your insurance card and, if you decide on the CVS Minute Clinic, your government issued ID.

Hopefully, you can avoid the freshman plague now with these helpful tips. But if you are one of many drowning in your own tissues (me right now), there are ways to a speedy recovery. 

Photo Credits: 1, 2, 3