While this semester has been launched with a warm beginning, it’s only a matter of time before the temperatures drop and the chance for illness rises.
But before Kleenex and NyQuil dominate the collegiate economy, it may be useful to understand why we have to seemingly sell our souls to the pharmaceutical industry every autumn.
Just as each season comes with its own fresh produce and in-style fashions, it is also accompanied by a trending sickness—that is, an illness that spreads particularly quickly and efficiently in certain temperatures.
Unfortunately for any sort of landmass with a tendency for cold weather, flu season is only a matter of time.
Though the influenza virus already has a natural inclination to spread in areas populated by dense amounts of people (for instance, a college campus), the encroaching cooler climate only seems to provide more of a basis for it to spread.
According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), the virus develops an extra layer in its composition during the colder months, giving it greater structure to float through the air into an unsuspecting individual.
The virus, which is normally forced to ground level by the high amounts of moisture in the air during the summer months, now has freedom to roam and inflict the populace with its variety of symptoms, none of which are pleasant.
But this dark world of flu and cold season doesn’t come without a ray of hope. While these illnesses can be spread very easily, they can just as easily be prevented with a few simple precautions.
First and most simply, wash your hands.
This doesn’t mean a quick rinse after a bathroom break, but a thorough cleaning with soap and warm water.
Water itself does little to remove the germs from your skin—it’s the soap that bonds with the germs and allows them to be washed off with the water.
Though it may take a little bit of extra time, it may mean one less Kleenex you’ll have to reach for in the weeks to come.
Secondly, control your germs.
Due to the nature of most cold and flu viruses, coughs and sneezes make it very easy to send the sickness to others.
While sneezing or coughing into your hands may seem like the quickest fix in a public setting, it’s also the easiest way to spread germs.
Even if it’s only for a moment, touching a door handle or commonly used surface often gives these viruses a free ride into the next person who happens to use them.
Therefore, whenever you have to cough or sneeze, try your best to do it into your elbow.
Last but not least, listen to your body. It’s inevitable that our bodies will come in contact with some kind of germ in the next few months, but that doesn’t mean sickness has to follow.
If something doesn’t feel quite right, listen to the signs your body is giving you.
Don’t be afraid to go to bed early, drink a hot beverage, or look into products with a high level of Vitamin C.
The Pod Market outside of the dining hall sells packets of Emergen-C all year, which contain large amounts of vitamins and nutrients that help to boost the immune system.
Regardless of whether or not you’re feeling under the weather, it’s always helpful to have some preventative measures on hand.
Before stocking up on the cough syrup, remember that lessening the chance of illness can be very simple with an understanding of what viruses are out there and staying clean to prevent the spread of them.
Flu season may be approaching with the weather, but there’s no reason that we can’t adapt. Stay healthy, Warriors!
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