People of all ages struggle with cold and flu season. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that there are more than 200 different viruses that cause the common cold , while influenza, or “the flu,” is another viral illness that affects hundreds of thousands of people each year in the United States. Have you thought about how you’re going to stay healthy during cold and flu season on campus?

Just like it’s important for everyone to be proactive and take steps in protecting themselves and others from the flu, it is also crucial for college students—especially those living in residence halls—to take reasonable precautions against getting sick and spreading a flu or cold around.

Below are some common-sense tips that will help you stay healthy during cold and flu season at school:

Wash Your Hands Frequently

During cold and flu season it is more important than usual to frequently wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer. Practicing good hygiene can help prevent the spread of germs and reduce the risk of you getting sick, missing class, etc.

Hand-washing means using soap and water for 15–20 seconds, scrubbing all parts of the hands and fingers, and rinsing thoroughly. If soap and water aren’t available, using hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol is the next best option for killing germs.

Keep a pocket-sized container of hand sanitizer in your backpack. As you go to class, study in the library, and buy meals on campus you’re constantly touching things that your fellow students and professors touch. Having a personal store of hand sanitizer on you is a great backup or emergency solution.

Don’t Share Water Bottles or Eating Utensils

During cold and flu season it’s important to remember that germs are spread very easily through close contact—such as sharing food, drinks, utensils, etc. It may seem harmless, but even brief contact can result in sickness.

When you go out to eat at the dining hall or grab a coffee on campus try to use your own spoon, fork, cup, plate , etc. If you forget to bring your own utensils with you, just ask for new ones.

It is also important that you don’t share water bottles or other drinks with other people at school or at home. Make sure that you and your roommates are diligent about washing dishes, cups, and utensils in between each use.

Avoid Touching Your Eyes, Nose and Mouth

Germs can spread quickly to your eyes, nose, and mouth. It is important that you avoid touching these vulnerable parts of your face whenever possible. Most illness-causing germs enter the body through mucous membranes, like those found in your nose and mouth.

If you can, avoid direct hand contact with surfaces in public places such as handles on doors, buttons on vending machines, etc. Always use a tissue or something similar when you need to blow your nose during flu season.  If you don’t have a tissue with you, make sure to cough or sneeze into your arm rather than hand.

Take Time Off From School If You Are Sick

During cold and flu season you might be tempted to sleep less in order to get more schoolwork done. However, it is easy to get more sick if your body is run down. When you feel like taking a break or cutting back on studying just remember that getting enough rest will help you stay healthy and give you the energy you need to succeed.

Always communicate with your professors if you are absent from school for more than one day. Stay home until you are fever free without taking medication for at least 24 hours . Make sure that you tell all of your roommates to keep their distance and be extra careful of germs when hanging out around the house!

Ohio University Housing

Wharton Rentals wants you to stay healthy during cold and flu season. Check out our clean, roomy Court Street rentals as you try to avoid getting sick this semester. Get in touch with us to learn more about what’s available!

Wharton Rentals is committed to making the off-campus living experience a positive one for college students in Athens, Ohio.

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