Uh Oh. It’s Flu season! Staying healthy at any point in life is extremely important, but getting sick in college can really affect you. Getting the flu means missing school, not being able to hang out with friends, and the overall feeling of being ill. To say it’s no good is an understatement, but there are definitely ways to avoid getting sick.
The flu is actually called the Influenza Virus and it is not the same as a cold. The Flu is a respiratory illness. It is contagious and after catching it the body takes a few days before the immune system will begin fighting against it. Because it is hard on the body, the flu usually lasts a few days to two weeks. Unfortunately, the over-the-counter medicines you may take for other colds do not treat the flu virus, but they can help with flu symptoms.
Some flu symptoms are coughing, sneezing, aches, tiredness, congestion, and a fever. If you believe you have the flu, try not to infect others and stay sanitized. It is a good idea to go to the doctor. Many campuses have some kind of medical services where you can see a doctor using insurance or paying a lower-than-normal fee for the visit. It is recommended that you find a doctor’s office either on campus or off that you could go to if you ever needed.
Prevention is the best way not to get the flu. The flu season typically starts in November and ends in March. During this time, be extra careful about sharing germs. Make sure to wash your hands frequently after touching the desks, chairs, doors, etc… Also, all those chips and canned soups are probably not the best for your body. Take the time to figure out healthy foods to eat and always stay hydrated. Many people also chose to get the flu shot. Flu shots are offered at many local pharmacies and stores including Walgreens, CVS, Target, Walmart, etc… Many schools will also offer flu shots either for free or a reduced cost. Check out your medical services for more information.
Unfortunately, antibiotics do not fight the flu. Sometimes antiviral drugs can be prescribed, but you will most likely still feel sick for a little while. The best way to get better is eating healthy, lots of rest, and drinking enough water. It may be hard to stay in bed in a college atmosphere, but that could very much help you get better quicker. If you do have to stay in bed, make sure to contact your professors. Since the swine flu break out in 2008/2009 many colleges have adapted flu policies telling students to stay home. Find out where your school stands and talk to your professors about the flexibility in their syllabi.
The flu can be hard to deal with, but it is not the end of the world. You may feel sick for a while, but your body will begin the fight eventually. The best way to avoid getting sick is to consciously stay healthy. Make sure to get your flu shot and if you are sick, make sure not to infect the others around you.