How to Stay Healthy When Everyone Around You is Sick

As I walk through campus, I hear the coughs and sniffles that accompany the start of a new year at Augustana College. The different germs from many different homes, states, and countries all come together to make the perfect breeding ground for viruses to spread around campus like a plague. If you’re anything like me, you get chills when you see someone cough into their hand and then touch someone or something. Or maybe you shudder every time you hear someone behind you come into class complaining about how sick they are. Being around all these germs makes me want to crawl into my bed and stay there until I feel it’s safe to come out of hibernation. Everyone around me seems to be getting sick. Some people have the flu, some people get strep throat, others get a weird combination of both. Even though I don’t consider myself a germaphobe, I take strong precautionary measures during this time of the year to help decrease my chances of getting sick. Now I’m going to share some of these strategies in hope that maybe I can help someone else avoid the fast-spreading hybrid of diseases encompassing all of campus.


This first strategy I’m going to share is going to make you roll your eyes. But to anyone reading this, please wash your hands. See, I know you’re doubting me and questioning who doesn’t wash their hands. But the amount of times in one day I see women leave the bathroom in my dorm hall without washing their hands is a disgusting amount. So yes, wash your hands after every time you enter the bathroom, even if it is just to brush your teeth. The bathroom is covered in germs (and disgustingly fecal matter). I wash my hands anytime I come back to my dorm or before I eat. Carry around hand sanitizer and use it as often as you can. Assume that every place you go has been touched by someone who has the flu.


My second strategy is annoying and hard to keep up with, but it makes a big difference. Keep your room clean. Not just throwing your laundry in your hamper, but using disinfecting wipes one to two times a week to wipe everything down. Clean your phone, your laptop, your door handle, or anything you come into contact with. This helps those germs stay out of where you sleep and live.


My last strategy is to keep yourself healthy. I know how hard these things can be, but try to be well rested, eat healthy, and drink lots of water. Keeping yourself healthy in these ways helps keep your body and immune system strong and ready to fight viruses that try to attack. I know it is hard in college to not pull all-nighters writing that paper you put off, the dining hall doesn't’t offer very much healthy food, and caffeine seems to be a better substitute to water. But these small changes can make all the difference in your health status this fall.


Hopefully, with all these steps combined, you can help avoid the man spreading viruses going around campus. I’ve managed to stay healthy this year (knock on wood), and I’m wishing everyone a healthy and happy fall!