How to Avoid Getting Sick: A Collegiate’s Guide to Roommates

Whether we like it or not, college requires close contact with a multitude of other human beings. In lecture halls, dorms, and apartments—college students are constantly packed into small spaces and there is no guarantee that the person closest to you has even showered in the past week. It’s no wonder that germs spread like wildfire through college campuses, so when illnesses begin to take out those around you, how on Earth can you stay healthy?

1)    It’s not rude to isolate yourself.

a.     If those around you, particularly in your dorm or apartment, are falling like flies with the flu, there is absolutely nothing rude about spending an extended amount of time away from everyone. As much as we all love our friends, roommates, and hallmates, sometimes it’s best to just spend a little time with yourself. Toss your friends a box of tissues and get some fresh air.

2)    Clorox everything, including your friends if necessary.

a.     Disinfecting Clorox wipes are your best friend. Clean door knobs, light switches, countertops, refrigerator handles, and anything else that is commonly touched. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends to wash up as well. There is nothing more frustrating than watching someone sick cough into their hand and touch a million things. 

3)    Eat healthy, drink water, and get plenty of sleep

a.     It’s hard to ask your body to fight off all of the diseases coming your way if the only substances your body is using to fight off disease are hot Cheetos and boba. Give your body a fighting chance until flu season passes. Don’t forget about vitamin C and plenty of fruits and vegetables. We all know hot Cheetos may sound better, but nothing tastes as good as healthy feels.

4)    If you do succumb to the flu, be clean about it.

a.     Wash your hands, wash your sheets, wash everything. If you live with other people, this is even more important. There is nothing worse than infecting everyone around you. I totally believe in the power of sharing but there are some things you should keep to yourself. If you can, stay in your own room to prevent touching all of the communal furniture in the living room. Keep windows open to air out your room and apartment. Wash your hands before and after eating and especially every time you go to the bathroom.

Although it may seem impossible at times, staying healthy in college is doable. When your roommates and friends come down with colds and flus, some sanitation, healthy eating, and distance can get you through the year with a strong immune system and no doctor visits. Stay healthy, Anteaters!