'Tis the Season for the Sniffles

'Tis the Season for the Sniffles

‘Tis the season (sadly not for Christmas, although I did catch myself humming jingle bells the other day) for sniffles, headaches, and fevers. That’s right, there’s a new trend on campus only everyone is avoiding it like the plague. It seems like everyone and their roommate is getting sick and for those who aren’t, it seems as though your internal immune system’s clock is counting down and before you know it, you’ll find yourself curled up in bed watching and “Netflixing” the sniffles away.

Because over 12,000 undergrads share the main facilities here, when one person gets sick, it starts a chain reaction and before you know it, everyone is sick! We all interact with one another on a daily basis and between the dorms, dining halls, classes, and the gym, there are germs everywhere!

Somewhere between Thursday and Friday, some of these germs found their way into my body. Needless to say, I spent the majority of fall break sick. Saturday morning I didn’t feel well so I crawled back into bed and proceeded to sleep almost straight through Sunday night only waking up if I was freezing or sweating to death. My head hurt terribly and I had zero energy to move. I stayed home from classes on Monday and slept for most of that day, too. Luckily, with the help of Advil, lots of fluids, and hours of sleep, I feel much better.

Now you may be thinking, “I can’t get sick! I have a major exam this week!” Don’t live in constant fear of getting sick! In fact, stressing out about it can actually increase your chances of getting sick! We all get sick from time to time and if you’ve never been sick you have a pretty darn good immune system. If you’re determined to not get sick, I found some great tips for preventing getting the cold/flu from the UNH Health Services website!

  • Did you know that you can pick up germs by shaking hands, touching doorknobs, phones, and computers?  This is why it is so important to frequently wash your hands with soap and water. (P.S. Those hand sanitizer pumps immediately after swiping into the dining halls aren’t just there for decoration…USE THEM!)
  • If you’re coughing in public, cover your cough by covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or even your elbow or shoulder! Don’t forget to throw away all used tissues!
  • Don’t share towels, eating utensils, toothbrushes, drinking glasses or other items that may spread germs. Even if someone is not sick at the time of sharing, that person may still be contagious.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth as this is how germs are often spread.
  • Take care of yourself by eating healthy meals, managing stress, getting enough sleep, and exercising!
  • It may seem obvious, but try and avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Now if you’re currently lying in bed sick, you’re probably thinking the above information is too little, too late. Maybe you’re suddenly remembering all the times you went directly from the library to HoCo without washing your hands or that time you borrowed your friend’s towel a few days after they had just gotten over the flu. You may be regretting the recent choices you made but have no fear! The UNH Health Services website also offered some tips for those already sick.

  • Take care of yourself by getting plenty of sleep and rest. While you are awake, make sure to drink lots of fluids!
  • Ask your friends, family or RA to help you get food so you can still eat well.
  • Sore throat? Try gargling with ½ teaspoon of salt in warm water and use a humidifier/vaporizer to increase the humidity in the room.
  • Take acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help lower a fever and reduce headaches and body aches.
  • Coughing up a lung? Consider taking medicine with an expectorant and cough suppressant. Cough drops will also help temporarily.

Whether you’re currently sick, feeling a little under the weather, or just getting over being sick, I think it is very important to follow the appropriate tips suggested by UNH Health Services. No one wants to get sick, but living on a college campus with so many other students, it becomes inevitable. However, instead of living in constant fear, make sure to follow the preventative tips because they may save you from at least some of the germs out there. In the meantime, take care of yourselves Wildcats. Oh, and get plenty of Vitamin C!