How to Survive the Freshman Plague

Ever since the semester started, campus has been buzzing with the sounds of fun, friendship, and laughter—and students sneezing, coughing, and blowing their noses. The “Freshman Plague” has come to W&M, and it doesn’t appear to be leaving anytime soon. Here are some things you can do to avoid the plague, or survive if you’ve already got it.

1. Wash your hands

It may seem obvious, but in your freshman hall where everyone is touching the same doorknobs, bathroom doors, and stair rails, germs travel fast. Washing your hands, or using hand sanitizer, can help make sure those germs don’t get you sick. And try to touch your face as little as possible; most of the illnesses going around are viruses, according to Dr. David Dafashy at the Student Health Center, and they travel from hand to mouth.

2. Get an adequate amount of sleep

As students at W&M, we all have a ton of homework to do, all the time. But instead of pulling an all-nighter, try to pace yourself and allow time for sleeping, or napping. This will help you stay healthy. If you’ve already got the freshman plague, sleep will only help you get better faster.

3. Stay hydrated

If you’re sick, you might not feel like eating or drinking. But staying hydrated is important, and can help you feel and get better, especially if you’ve got a sore throat.

4. Visit the Student Health Center

The Student Health Center is here to help! If you’ve been feeling sick for a few days and you’re only getting worse, you should definitely stop by. Walk-ins are welcome! Their hours are posted online here.

5. Don’t be afraid to contact your professors

If you’re too sick to go to class, email your professors! Explain the situation and ask them what you missed in class, so you can keep up with your assignments. Your professor will appreciate your proactivity and you won’t fall too far behind.

The beginning of a semester can be stressful, especially when you’re sick. Follow the steps listed above, and hopefully you’ll be better in no time!

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