With finals on the way, it takes a lot of focus and effort to end the semester strong. Winter flu season is looming, and avoiding getting sick is essential for academic success. Forcing yourself to do work and meet deadlines when you are sick is extremely difficult, as all your body wants to do (and should do) is rest. Fortunately, with some smart preventative methods, you can make it through this critical time of the year.
Prioritize yourself and your self-care routines
Often college students get too caught up in schoolwork and other activities to take care of themselves. Simple things like getting enough sleep, eating three meals a day, and regularly drinking water help boost the immune system and stave off viruses. Sleep is one thing that most college students do not get enough of each day. Without it, your immune system is more vulnerable to viruses. Most importantly, always make time for yourself, even during the busiest days. Some self–care tips you can add to your routine are taking a break from your phone for 1-2 hours a day, schedule time for meditation and self-reflection (in a place that is environmentally positive for you), and make your favorite calming drink when stressed.
Practice regular hygiene
This seems like a no-brainer, but many still do not keep themselves clean throughout the day. Washing your hands, taking regular showers, and handling dirty objects with care can keep you safe from sickness. Plus, keeping yourself clean will keep those around you safe because germs that don’t affect you can affect someone else. “Wash your filthy hands every time you enter a new building,” Dr. Ryan Lange, associate professor of communication, said. “Cough into your elbow. Don’t physically come to class if you’re ill.”
The flu vaccine and the covid vaccine are important in avoiding sickness. Anyone who has caught the flu knows that the experience is not worth repeating. Pounding headaches, vomiting, and fatigue are all symptoms of the flu, and trying to get any work done in that condition is impossible. “Get a flu shot now. It takes two weeks to fully build your immunity after vaccines and we are already starting to see signs that this could be a bad year for respiratory viruses, including influenza (flu).” statement from Dr. Claire Murphy, Health and Wellness Center. Classrooms and the shuttle especially are compact, making it hard to keep your distance from others. These conditions are where respiratory viruses like the flu thrive. On the other hand, the coronavirus is much worse, as it spreads more quickly and has longer-lasting symptoms. These symptoms include long-term damage to your internal organs that could take years to show up. Being quarantined for two weeks will get in the way of any plans or schoolwork you need to complete. Be sure to get vaccinated as soon as possible to protect yourself and others.
What to do when you are unwell?
Whenever you feel under the weather, being advised by a primary care provider should be a priority. Wear a mask to ensure you do not spread your illness to others and get lots of rest so your body can take care of it. Making sure you address symptoms early can prevent plenty of illnesses. If your condition does worsen, you should consult a physician. Director of Health and Wellness Claire Murphy recommends visiting the Health and Wellness Center anytime you feel a shortness of breath or are severely ill. If you are unsure whether you need to be seen, showing up for advice is always welcome.
Academic success is dependent on your health, as your body determines how you tackle your daily life. Studying is important, but your health is as well. Passing finals means maintaining both. It takes all of us to do our part to keep campus a healthier place, so remembering these health methods can help in doing so. Good luck with finals!