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How to Stay Healthy When Everyone Around You is Sick

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at GWU chapter.

It feels like the cold and flu season becomes longer every year and with the outbreak of additional viruses, this year it seems more dreadful than usual. College dorms are a cesspool for germs, bacteria, and the spread of diseases, and avoiding getting sick is one of the most difficult tasks. You’ve likely seen an increase of posters on how to stay healthy and the prevalence of sanitizer stations around campus. Washing your hands and covering your mouth when you sneeze or cough seems obvious to me so here are some additional tips to stay healthy when everyone around you is sick


Carry hand sanitizer with you

Besides washing your hands, using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer can additionally kill germs you come in contact with. It’s quick, effective, and is usually small enough to throw inside your everyday bag. Reapplying whenever you need to will reduce the risk of bacteria spreading. If you find your hands drying out from the sanitizer, make sure to grab some lotion to go along with it.

Keep yourself healthy

One of the best ways to avoid getting sick is to strengthen your immune system by being healthier yourself. This means getting more sleep, exercising frequently, and drinking lots of fluids. College students are known for not getting enough sleep or eating well, but during flu season it’s imperative as your body tries to fight off bacteria and viruses. Making small changes can be the difference in catching a cold or the flu this season. Building up your immune system by staying healthy is a simple trick and might be your best bet to staying healthy.

Keep your distance from sick people

Although this can be unavoidable given sick roommates, friends, professors, and peers, keeping a healthy distance from those fighting illnesses can reduce your risk of catching the bacteria. This doesn’t mean isolating yourself from them, rather being more conscious of sharing food/drinks with them and making sure you’re washing your hands.

Invest in immunity boosters

Products like Airborne and Emergen-C have grown in popularity in the past few years and while there isn’t a lot of conclusive evidence of its benefits, trying them won’t hurt. These products are filled with vitamins, antioxidants, electrolytes, zinc, homeopathic ingredients, or herbal extracts. Having tried these products, I can say that it feels like they’re actually doing something to build up my immunity.

Get your flu shot

If you didn’t get your flu shot in October and are worried that you’re going to get it now, it isn’t too late. While the CDC recommends getting the shot early, most providers offer the vaccination as long as the viruses are circulating. Getting it now can’t hurt and might protect you from someone who ends up catching the flu later in the season.

Ask your doctor for Tamiflu

If you forgot to get your flu shot and now all your roommates have the flu (conveniently happened to me last week), there is a preventative measure to take to avoid catching the virus. Having been fighting off a different virus last week, the last thing I wanted was the flu to accompany it, so I called my doctor. She was able to prescribe me Tamiflu (the antibiotic used to fight the flu) as a preventative measure. This sort of hidden trick worked and I ended up not catching it.

While these tips aren’t a guarantee to not get sick, following them can help the spread of viruses and will overall let you live a healthier life.

Mei Harrison is a sophomore at The George Washington University and is originally from Denver, Colorado. She is double majoring in International Affairs and Geography with a concentration in International Development. She is an avid skier, writer, and Netflix connoisseur.
Isabella grew up in Boston and is currently a student at The George Washington University studying International Business and Chinese. Her dream job is working as a journalist in New York, and she hopes to travel all over the world and study abroad in Shanghai. You can find her taking walks with her three Labradoodles or doing yoga with friends.