Flu season is right around the corner, and many students find themselves in dire straits when they have to miss classes and other obligations as a result of illness. Nicole Stark, a registered nurse and director of Student Health Services, has some tips on how to stay healthy this season.
Flu Vaccine— Flu shots, which are offered by Student Health Services, are the first line of defense against the flu, she said. Although they do not protect against bacterial infections, they go a long way toward helping the body defend itself against influenza-like diseases that can become serious if not treated properly.
Wash Your Hands— Ms. Stark reminds us that flu shots do not fully begin to protect the body until two to three weeks after injection. Therefore, wash your hands frequently and correctly until the shot kicks in and afterward in order to protect others. Use hand sanitizer in between washes in order to step up your germ protection.
Look, Don’t Touch— Be conscience of what you’re touching. Sharing things like cell phones, ear buds, cigarettes and drinks increases the likelihood of contracting an illness. Also remember to use sanitary wipes on spaces like doorknobs, countertops and keyboards in your home. The germs from your hands tend to collect on these areas and can make you sick.
Diet, Manage Stress, Sleep— These are hard ones. As students we are constantly under pressure, have little time to sleep and have trouble maintaining a healthy diet. Ms. Stark reminds us that adequate sleep goes a long way toward helping us fight off illness. “If you have inadequate amounts of asleep your body is too busy trying to function and won’t be able to fight off illness,” she says. Ms. Stark also recommends an “outlet for stress.” Having something to cut through the anxiety that school can bring to our lives is a good way to stay healthy.
What about if you’re already sick? Wash your hands, dispose of tissues correctly, clean surfaces, get plenty of rest, make an appointment with Student Health Services and get your flu shot when you’re feeling better. or visit the Self-Care room if the office is closed.
Stay healthy, my friends.