How to Ensure You Don’t Get the Flu!
With 532 cases of the flu reported and 167 of those cases resulting in hospitalization, the flu epidemic in Boston is an unavoidable reality. Unfortunately, being in college and living on a college campus is not conducive to avoiding the illness. One of the main ways an individual can ensure that he or she does not catch the virus is to “avoid crowds” and “contact with others.” Well, living in a dorm or sitting in a 200 person lecture hall seems to be setting college students up for a definite flu disaster, but there are simple ways to reduce the chances of getting the virus.
1. Northeastern University Health Services is providing FREE flu vaccines to all Northeastern students without even needing to schedule an appointment. According to individuals who have received the flu shot from Health Services, the process is actually short and simple (unlike other experiences students may have had there). Even if you missed the flu shots on campus in November or don’t have the time to run to your pharmacy, you can easily get the vaccine on campus. Getting the shot is the best way to try to ward off the flu.
2. Everyone knows that during flu season you should wash your hands for 15-30 seconds with soap and warm water every time you touch something that may have the virus on it. Realistically, you cannot run to a sink every five minutes, but you can carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer on you. A small bottle of hand sanitizer is around two dollars and can easily be placed in a backpack or a purse. Just use a couple drops of hand sanitizer whenever you come in contact with a surface others touch. If you can find a brand that has moisturizer in the hand sanitizer, you will avoid the problem of having dry hands too!
3. It may seem obvious but sharing drinks is a big NO NO during flu season. When an individual has consumed at least three drinks, his or her immune system will be weakened. Sharing drinks when your immune system is weakened will only increase your odds of catching the flu virus from your bestie. Usually people realize that sharing drinks is a bad idea and avoid it early in the night, but as soon as they have had a of couple shots, their judgment about a great deal of things is impaired. When your girlfriend makes the “best mixed drink she has ever made” and she insists you try it, you probably won’t think twice about it and will grab the drink. Although it may be challenging, try to remind your intoxicated self that taking a couple swigs of your friends beer may lead to days in bed feeling miserable. Definitely not worth it…
4. Just as 3 or more drinks may weaken your immune system, so does a lack of sleep. As a college student, it may seem impossible to get enough shuteye especially with 8 A.M. classes looming in the morning. The optimum amount of sleep for college students is between 7-8 hours a night. If getting the recommended amount of sleep seems impossible, try small steps first. If you usually go to bed at around 1:00 A.M., try to fall asleep at 12:30 instead. Eventually, through small adjustments, you will be able to go to bed earlier and receive those 7-8 hours of sleep. Not only will your immune system be stronger but you will feel better mentally and physically.
5. Make an investment in disinfectant wipes! College students two most prized possessions are their laptops and their cell phones. Unfortunately, both of those devices can be covered in germs. At least once a week, take a disinfectant wipe to your laptop and your phone. Along with those devices, also clean sinks, toilets, kitchen counters, tables, desks, and other things that are frequently touched like doorknobs. It may seem like a tedious task but by disinfecting these surfaces you come in contact with multiple times a day you are much less likely to be a victim of Influenza.