The Campus Cold

Lydia Marcus- Staff Writer

The kid who sits behind you in Core 150 gets it first. Then your friend gets it. Then your roommate gets it. It seems inevitable: sooner or later, you’ll probably catch the Campus Cold.

There are a few straight forward precautions you can take to avoid this unpleasant turn of events:

1) Drink enough water. Yes, we know the water is kind of funky here, and it has much more flavor than water should, but drinking enough water is important if you want to stay healthy. If you really can’t handle the tap water, buy a water filter or buy some non-Iowan water from the grocery store. Just get enough to drink (coffee doesn’t count).

2) Don’t share utensils, dishes or water bottles. We know college can be a time of lowered standards of living, but you really don’t want to share your bacteria with your friends, and you probably don’t want them to share their bacteria with you. If they’re starting to get sick when they share their water bottle with you, chances are you’ll get sick too. So don’t share water bottles.

3) Get enough sleep (when you can). Though it is great fun to brag about the inordinately short amounts of sleep you can get by on, and pulling all-nighters usually seems like a good idea at the time, sleep is important if you want your body to function properly. Time is precious as a student, we know. But you will be a better student (and a happier roommate, nicer friend, more attentive work study, etc.…) if you get enough sleep.

4) Get some fresh air. Breathing in your roommate’s sneeze germs won’t do you any favors if you’re trying to avoid getting sick. They probably won’t take it personally if you temporarily reduce the amount of time you spend in the room. Plus, the warm weather won’t last forever. So, get outside and take a walk, sit in the new gazebo in the prairie, or try to do your homework without the wind gusting all your papers away and assaulting your textbook.

5) Wash your hands regularly. You touch dozens of door knobs every day, and hundreds of people (who may or may not have washed their hands after that particularly nasty nose-blow) touched those door knobs before you. We don’t want to freak you out—we’re just saying…

6) Take a break. Lots of “top five was to avoid catching the common cold” lists include “reduce stress.” Though stress is apparently an integral part of what it means to be a college student, you can still reduce stress. It is okay to take a break from the busyness once in a while. Maybe you can even try out one of the items listed above, such as washing your hands. (Okay, maybe not that one. What about taking a walk? Or having a nap? Those sounds like good, stress-reducing options.)

*Disclaimer: We don’t guarantee that following these pieces of advice will prevent you from getting sick. When you live in close quarters with hundreds of other people (carrying millions of bacteria), it is hard to avoid getting sick. However, you’ll reduce your chances of getting sick if you take care of yourself. And that counts for something, right?




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