Fighting the spread of germs and illness during the cold and flu season

Published by adviser, Author: Rebecca Marcucci - Rocket Contributor, Date: November 30, 2012
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The intense winter seasons and finals week are quickly approaching and now is not the time to get sick. After all, the kid who’s coughing into his hands before sending the attendance sheet around is enough to make anybody nervous this time of year. Loading up on vitamins and staying away from coughing, sneezing, and sniffling friends may be one option, but there are happier and healthier ways to stay well during cold and flu seasons.

Senior health services administration major Cindy Bierce, 21, said she believes part of staying healthy is living healthy, adding that when it comes to the cold or flu, natural remedies work best, but the doctor’s advice is still vital.

“A pill or medication is not always the answer,” Bierce said. “The body is typically capable of fighting off infections naturally. Excessive reliance on antibiotics will increase the number of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.”
If antibiotics are necessary, she added, it’s still important to take the amount specified by a health care provider.

Students such as junior secondary education history major Kaylee Gallagher, 20, say they are taking preventative measures to avoid catching a cold or the flu but, it’s staying healthy around others that’s a bigger concern.

“I just get upset when people don’t cover their mouths when they cough,” Gallagher said. “If you’re the one that’s sick just be considerate. There’s nothing worse than someone in class coughing all over everyone.”
Gallagher admits she tries to be extra-cautious when cold and flu symptoms arise while still maintaining a happy lifestyle.

Coordinator of Health Promotion at the McLachlan Student Health Center, Renee Bateman, has many helpful tips for students trying to stay healthy this season.

“Simple things like washing your hands, using hand sanitizer, and getting a flu shot can help protect you from getting a lot of cold and flu symptoms,” Bateman said.

Germs can spread very quickly and simple prevention is your best option in trying to stay healthy, Bateman said. Healthy lifestyle options can also prove for a healthy immune system.

“It’s best not to share a lot of items with others who are sick,” Bateman said. “Maintaining other healthy behaviors in general like exercising and eating balanced meals can really help. Trying to stay as stress-free as you can is something most students often overlook, but it’s easy to get sick when you are getting rundown.”
Bateman also shared quick and convenient resources the health center offers for students during cold and flu times of the year, such as their Cold Care Center.

“Students experiencing cold and flu symptoms can stop into the health center and talk with any one of our nurses,” Bateman said. “Or if they’re on their way to class, our cold care center is equipped with salt gargle, Tylenol, thermometers, and cough drops that are there for the taking.”
If you’ve already been plagued by a cold or the flu, Bateman recommends using a decongestant, if needed, and above all getting plenty of rest and fluids.

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