College is an exciting time for any young adult, but as many parents know it can also be a time for frequent colds, cases of flu, and other health issues. Most experts in the medical field blame the increase in infectious diseases on campuses directly on having large numbers of individuals being crammed into smaller spaces. Called by many “the incubator effect,” many college students do not even realize how or why they have suddenly become more susceptible to common colds and other ailments. The following are recommendations made by medical professionals explicitly designed for college students who want to avoid getting sick while away from home.
First, do not drink from other people cups
While this may sound very simplistic, many drinking games at parties involve multiple people repetitively drinking out of the same cup. Also, if you are already sick, don’t go to a party, don’t go to class, don’t even go to the library. Most viruses and illnesses that spread quickly on college campuses are contagious for at least a few days so stay in bed, drink plenty of water and eat as nutritiously as possible. If you have been prescribed antibiotics, make sure you take the complete cycle that was specified for you and DO NOT drink for as long as you are taking them.
Next, Lysol should be your best friend
Be sure to wipe down your cell phone, your keyboard, your desktop, your dorm room doorknob and anything else you come in frequent contact with at least once every two weeks. This includes if you are going to the gym, wipe down the equipment before you use it and locker handles in the changing room. If you are showering in a communal area, it is also highly recommended that you keep a pair of plastic slides or flip flops on while you are in the shower and throughout the wash area as foot fungus is another disease you will want to avoid.
Remembering the rules mom and dad taught you at home will generally keep you safest
When it comes to food, check the best before dates, if you left something out of the fridge too long, throw it away, and always wash your hands before you prepare food and before you eat it. Try to incorporate greens and other vegetables into your daily diet and be sure to drink plenty of water every day. It is okay to be stingy and not share your food or drinks, especially with people you do not know well, or suspect may be sick. Also, try to only eat in areas that are designated for eating because they tend to be cleaner than other areas on campus such as libraries, gyms or classrooms.
And finally, keep your room clean. You should change and launder your sheets and towels at least every ten to fourteen days. It is also important to always make sure they are completely dry before you take them out of the laundry. This will help kill off any possible mold or mildew that could cause problems later on. Although these recommendations will not guarantee that you will not catch a cold or some other virus, following them will undoubtedly lower your odds.