How to stay flu-free this semester

Shae Slaughter

Classes are in full swing and that means that germs are, too. Over the last few weeks I’ve noticed a drop in attendance in my classes, and it’s not because students just want to skip. Coughs and sniffles can be heard echoing through the hallways. GVSU seems to be on the receiving end of some nasty illnesses ranging from colds to the flu and everything in between. We’ve all heard it before, but it is important to stay healthy now more than ever. The good news is there are a couple of simple ways to do so.

First things first, wash your hands. I know, I know, we aren’t children and we know better, right? I definitely hope so. Still, I feel like this broken record needs to be replayed just one more time because handwashing not only keeps your own immune system healthy, but it also protects those around you from picking up any germs you might transfer. Since we’re all sharing the same desks, buses and classrooms, it’s just the courteous thing to do. Bonus points if you carry around travel-sized hand sanitizer, too. 

Once you’ve mastered handwashing, it’s important to focus on getting enough sleep. I think I speak for most college students when I say that sleep comes at a premium during the semester, but I also know how important it is. Unfortunately, catching up on your sleep often means skipping a party or not procrastinating and staying up until 2 a.m. writing a paper. Both parties and procrastination are beloved pastimes of college students, but during the winter it’s better to focus on getting enough shut-eye first. 

While we’re addressing college norms, we might as well talk about eating habits, too. Shockingly enough, ramen noodles will not provide you with all of your daily vitamin needs. Instead, try to eat a well-rounded diet and throw in a multivitamin if you’re feeling extra feisty. Of course, a healthy diet alone isn’t enough to keep you illness-free, but it’s a key step in prevention. If your body is run-down from a little too much iced coffee and Taco Bell, it won’t even stand a chance.

Illness is likely inevitable for all of us. If it isn’t happening now, it could be a month down the line. Sometimes even the best preventative care won’t be enough, so if you do get sick, do yourself a favor and visit a doctor. If you aren’t from the area, you can visit the Metro Health GVSU Campus Health Center or an urgent care depending on your insurance. No one likes the doctor, but getting medicine that can cut your sick days in half is definitely worth it. You might have to miss a class to make it in for an appointment, but I promise it is for the best. 

You can’t deny that germs are really flowing on campus right now, and we’re all potential victims. Even if you’re busy, it’s important to take the time to take care of yourself. Papers and tests are important, but so is your well-being. Following these few simple steps is a great way to start protecting yourself before it’s too late.