Taylor Corley, Campus Carrier arts and living editor
Don’t let the heat outside fool you: the season of sickness is upon us and a college campus is one of the best places for any type of disease, bacteria or virus, to thrive. College dorm rooms have their perks, like being our parent-free homes away from home, but the one thing they aren’t is germ-free. Here are a few tips from Berry College students on how to keep yourself healthy while living in tight quarters with 2,000 of your closest , germ- carrying friends.
The most common illnesses students should be on the lookout for are colds and the flu. These two respiratory diseases are highly contagious and can be spread through touch. Students share pencils, desk-tops, dining areas and living spaces making it easy to catch and spread a cold or the flu.
One of the best ways to prevent getting a cold or the flu is to keep your hands clean.
“I think hand hygiene is super important and I emphasize it to everyone,” senior Alina Somani said. “I have hand sanitizer with me all the time. It’s clipped onto my backpack.”
It’s also important to tell your roommate when you are sick. They can then plan accordingly and sleep somewhere else if you are contagious or take extra precautions to keep themselves healthy . They might even bring you an extra box of tissues or pick up some food for you from D-hall.
“If my roommate gets sick, I disinfect the room every couple of days, especially common spaces that we share like our fridge,” Somani said.
Vitamins and dietary supplements are another great way to prevent catching an infection.
“I take cod liver oil,” freshman Lauren Chandler said. “It builds up your immune system so you can get better faster and it keeps you from getting sick again, but it tastes bad.”
Junior Ei Noe turns to vitamins as well in order to keep herself healthy . “I take a vitamin C drop every morning and I try to drink lemon and honey green tea at least twice a week,” Noe said.
Sleeping and drinking lots of fluids are key when it comes to fighting off illnesses. As students, we can’t miss too much class or get too behind on homework, but resting is one of the quickest ways to relieve a cold.
“I like to avoid the word sick because mindset is everything,” sophomore Isabelle Rousseau said. “But if I do start to feel under the weather I try not to push myself too hard and I make sure I drink lots of water and eat Chick-fil-A soup.”
Our shared bathroom spaces also provide a unique challenge that students with individual bathrooms are not as susceptible to. Hazards such as athlete’s foot and exposure to mold are more prominent in warm, moist environments like community bathrooms. Athlete’s foot can be avoided by wearing shower shoes and any signs of mold should be reported.
There are other small hacks students can do in their dorm to prevent the spread of illness.
“I like to put ‘Health Shield’ essential oils in my diffuser to keep the air that is circulating clean,” junior Emily Reid said. “I also change my sheets often and I wash the hand towels in my bathroom every week.”
If a student does find themselves getting sick, the Health Center provides several over the counter medications such as Tylenol, Aspirin, sinus decongestants and cough medications that students can walk in and grab. They also offer free allergy shots, physical exams, influenza swabs, strep throat swabs and blood sugar readings by appointment.
The Health Center is open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and students can make an appointment online or in person.