Surviving the PSU Plague

Runny nose? Uncontrollable coughing? Headaches? Sinus Infections? Yep, that sounds about right. Any student at PSU knows that you are not officially a student until you’ve completed your rite of passage: being infected with the “PSU Plague.” For those of you who don’t know, the PSU Plague is a contagious disease that spreads around the entire campus and typically infects everyone at the same time. The Plague is common amongst freshmen, because they’ve been thrown into a completely new environment with people they’ve never met before sharing the same living space, bathrooms, and ventilation system. But upperclassmen aren’t safe either, the Plague somehow finds its way throughout the institution and a majority of students here get contaminated. Even the professors find themselves infected in the midst of all the chaos.

Not sure if you’ve been infected? The easiest way to diagnose yourself is determining whether or not you feel like death constantly, a scorching fire interminably burning your throat, or a thousand rocks pounding against your head. If you have all of these symptoms and more, you’ve probably only just begun. Lol, just kidding… kind of. The Plague is tough but don’t worry, you’ll get through it. If you find yourself becoming a victim of this epidemic or if you’re simply trying to avoid it altogether, here are a few tips to help you survive. Or at least try to keep your heart pumping.

1. Stock up on medicine 

Medicine will be your best friend in these times of strife, trust me. Go to the markets in your commons or hit the CVS downtown. Do whatever you must do to get the treatments you need. Be sure to read all labels carefully, and make sure the symptoms on the description match yours. That is the most effective way to buy medicine and ensure that it’ll get the job done.

2. Disinfect EVERYTHING

Let’s face it, you’re living in a dorm room that has been occupied by several different people year after year and you’re probably not utilizing the proper cleaning techniques like you should. To avoid this plague, make sure you’re wiping down EVERYTHING. The drawers, closets, desks, even your notebooks and pencils if you feel it is necessary. Stock up on those clorox wipes, you’re definitely going to need them. Don’t forget to invest in air and fabric fresheners! Disinfecting the space and furniture around you is just as important.

3. Carry hand sanitizer everywhere

Obviously washing your hands is one of the most obvious but effective ways to protect yourself from illnesses. However, you’re not always in a position to find the nearest bathroom and scrub away the bacteria. So, make it a habit to carry hand sanitizer everywhere you go. I have two different travel-size hand sanitizers hooked to my bag so I can use it anywhere, at any time. Keep in mind, THIS IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR WASHING YOUR HANDS! This is just something to do if you can’t find a place or time to do the entire routine. Please, wash your hands kids.

4. Invest in a humidifier

Humidifiers can be a huge help when it comes to suffering from the Plague. It adds just a little more moisture to the air to help with a dry mouth, throat, nose, or eyes, and helps to ease the symptoms so that you’re able to function properly. A smart investment if you ask me.

5. Don't share your food or drinks!!!! 

I know how it goes. You’ve known a person since forever and you completely trust them enough to take a sip from their cup or use the same fork they used for your ramen. DON’T DO IT! This is one of the easiest ways a person can get sick! You never really know what underlying diseases your friends might have and you’re really putting yourself at risk. Also, don’t be afraid to say no to sharing your own food or drinks. The Plague shows no mercy, and neither should you. This is your health we’re talking about! You should be making an effort to take care of yourself in the best way possible.

6. Be mindful of othersIf you’ve somehow already caught the plague and have developed a slight cough or sneezing problem, be sure to do others a favor and cover your mouth. Try to cough into your sleeve or carry tissues with you to sneeze into. You should try your best not to spread your germs to those around you and lessen the effects of the Plague. It’s important to be considerate of others and their space, don’t contaminate other people.

7. Drink waterIn this intense journey to beat the plague, it is extremely important that you stay hydrated constantly! That may involve trying to drink a little more than the recommended four bottles of water per day. Also, staying away from alcohol, coffee, and caffeine in general will help maintain the proper hydration levels your body needs to function properly. A steady water intake can ultimately help ease congestion. Drink plenty of fluids, it could save your life. 

8. Rest Easy

One of the most important things to do when fighting the Plague is getting rest. As a college student, you’re always on the go. Between classes, work, and extracurricular activities, it’s hard to find time to simply take a break and take a nap. If you’re truly struggling with the plague, find a break in your schedule, or make one, and take some time to sleep. Remember, your health comes first and it is important to prioritize yourself. If you have to miss or class or two, don’t be afraid to do it! The only thing you should focus on is getting better. We’re rooting for you!

9. Consult a physician

If you’ve followed all the steps listed above and find your symptoms are remaining the same or even getting worse, then it’s time to seek some professional health. University Health Services (UHS) on campus is more than willing to help you in any way they can! You can schedule an appointment online or stop by during their office hours. If you can’t defeat the Plague on your own, there is no doubt that they’ll be able to help you through it. You are not in this alone!


The PSU Plague has several victims each year, and every year those same victims become survivors. If you’ve been able to avoid it, I commend you soldier! If you’re still fighting the battle, consider these tips your survival kit. You will pull through, just hang in there! WE ARE… always here for you! Good luck, collegiettes!