Hey guys, I’m back again and hopefully here to help you make it through those last few weeks of fall semester! I know it’s crunch time, and everyone’s stressing out big time! I’ve been checking out a lot of my Facebook friends’ statuses, and there seems to be a lot of buzz about one topic in particular. Yes, there are posts about group projects, computer stalking in Cook Library, and rants about finals, but the one hot topic I’m seeing the most about is the fear of getting sick during finals week!
Students are concerned about all of the sneezing and coughing that seems to be following them around on campus- that guy in Paws, the girl in line behind you at The University Store, especially the plague of sickness that you have to sit next to for an hour and a half in math class. It’s everywhere, and it’s really interfering with the end of your semester. I have a friend who manages to get sick during every finals week, and this year she’s determined not to. So here I am, the most popular mouse on campus, to help her (and everyone else) out! I’ve done some research, and here are some ways to keep yourself healthy during those last two weeks of the semester.
You may be hesitant about this one, after all, you have three papers that need to be done by tomorrow morning. If you check out this article from the New York Times, you’ll quickly learn that sleep is an important factor to keeping your immune system in check. As a matter of fact, that’s the first thing my friend told me that her doctor mentioned to her. When you pull all-nighters during finals and cut back on your regular sleep schedule, you’re putting yourself at risk of getting sick. And from what I hear, most human college students love sleep anyway, so why would that be the first thing to go?
Wash your hands
Think about all of the things you touch in an hour. You walk into the library, take money out of your wallet for some Starbucks, pour some milk in it, go sit at a computer to type a few quick emails… Now think about how many people have touched that $10 bill before you, poured milk into their coffee, and used that computer- just today! You may not be in direct contact with an actual sick person, but just by touching bacteria-covered everyday objects, you’re putting yourself at risk. And while hand sanitizers are convenient, nothing beats a good minute and a half of scrubbing with soap and warm water.
Make good food choices
During the semester you may make sure you drink your juice at breakfast and a salad with every dinner, but when it comes to the end of the semester, it’s easy to let this habit slip away. Your time is being eaten away (heh, get it?) with projects and academic priorities, so sometimes a Snickers bar and Mountain Dew will wind up being dinner. When you start making substitutions like that, your body won’t have access to the nutrients that it’s normally used to, and your immune system won’t operate the way it normally does. Another mealtime faux pas you seldom think about- sharing food. When your friend offers to share her leftover fries- she’s being generous, but maybe more than she thinks. Not only is she sharing her food, but she could be passing that cough going around on to you!
Skip the bar
This is going to be an unpopular one with you guys, but it’s an important thing to consider. You may eat properly, pop an Airborne every morning, and be super careful about not getting sick, but it’s been found that consuming alcohol can weaken your immune system. I know it’s hard to resist happy hour, and your friend only turns 22 once, but towards the end of the semester if you’re trying not to get sick, skip the booze! Once finals are over and you’re ready to get as sick as a dog, do what you’ve got to do. But until then, pass up the night at the bar and maybe get a few extra hours of sleep!
So those are just a few ways to help yourself prevent catching the bug going around during your last two weeks here. The flu has started going around earlier than usual this year, so please consider taking at least some of my advice, maybe even consider getting the yearly vaccination. And if you don’t take my word for it, check out some of the links throughout this blog post. If you do find yourself getting the sniffles, curating a cough, or sneezing up a storm, consider stopping by Dowell Health Center’s Fast Track Clinic or your regular doctor to get checked out. And if you can’t prevent the inevitable, or I’m a week too late with this blog entry, please let your professors know and stay home from class. If you have the flu, it’s just common courtesy to keep it to yourself.
I hope you stay healthy (and sane) during your last few days here at Towson! ~Sam