How to Avoid the Seasonal Flu and Other Illnesses

How to Avoid the Seasonal Flu and Other Illnesses
  • Opening Intro -

    The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta are reporting that this year's flu season has reached epidemic proportions across much of the contiguous United States.

    To reduce the risk of flu exposure, the CDC is recommending that everyone from age six months on up get the flu shot.

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This includes college students, people that typically have strong immune systems, but are still at risk of getting sick.

Beside getting a flu shot at this late date, college students should take other precautions to avoid illness. You may avoid the flu this year, but colds and the dreaded norovirus are still around. Norovirus is described by the CDC as a gastroenteritis illness that affects about 20 million people each year. Stomach cramping, diarrhea and vomiting are some of its most prevalent signs. Norovirus typically comes on suddenly and is mistakenly called the “stomach flu” by some, but it is a virus and therefore it can not be treated with antibiotics.

Missed Classes

You can reduce the chances that you’ll get sick this year by taking certain precautions. Missing classes for one or two days may not have a big impact on your studies, but if you come down with the flu you may be required to stay out of class for a week or more, quite possibly making it difficult for you to keep up with your assignments.

Let’s take a look at how you can maintain your health and avoid the germs that can make you sick:

1. Wash your hands. Thoroughly wash your hands after using the bathroom and at other times when they get dirty. Use soap and water, scrubbing your hands for up to 20 seconds and drying them thoroughly. When soap is not available, use an alcohol-based hand cleaning solution.

2. Avoid sick people. It can be difficult to avoid contact with sick people, but you are most at risk of becoming ill yourself when you are around people that are sick. If you get sick, you need to isolate yourself, by staying in your dorm room or apartment until you are well.

3. Just cover it. Carry plenty of tissues with you and use these when you need to blow your nose or catch a sneeze. If you cannot stop a sneeze in time, turn your head and bury it in the upper portion of your shirt arm. Do not risk spreading germs virally without catching your sneeze.

4. Watch what you touch. Germs can sit on surfaces for hours on end. Inadvertently, you may find yourself touching a surface then moving your hands to touch your mouth, eyes, ears or nose. By doing this you have just made it easier for germs to enter your body.

5. Stay in good health. Get enough sleep. Eat right. Exercise regularly and manage your stress. Take care of your body to keep it in optimum health.

Sick Days

If you attempt to attend class while sick, your college may send you back to your room until you are well. Colleges and universities across the nation are monitoring the current flu outbreak and are advising students on how best to respond. For instance, at Kent State University students are being advised to contact their professors to alert them of their pending absence from class. Understand your school’s sick policy and follow it.

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Categories: Featured, Personal Advice