It’s flu season. And no, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s winter time. Because do you know what is a real thing? The freshman flu.
This is how it works: when a lot of new people are around each other, someone is bound to get sick, and that someone will also likely infect others. This is common in dorms and student housing, where a lot of people are living in quite close contact with each other. Not to mention, a lot of people get sick when they encounter a new environment, like a new climate. The common cold is one of the main reasons students miss class, and you wouldn’t want to miss the first few lectures of the year, right? Or the first parties…
Luckily for you, however, there are 5 sure-fire (and tested) ways you can avoid getting sick and catching the freshers flu.
1. Wash your hands
This is probably the best way to avoid getting sick. Washing your hands with soap (especially antibacterial soap) kills a lot of bacteria on your hands. If your hands are dirty, not only can they infect you when you touch your face or eat food, for example. You can also infect others. We are sure you were taught to wash your hands a few times per day, so this shouldn’t be too difficult!
2. Don’t eat junk (we know it’s tempting)
We know it’s tempting to eat pizza every night and drink your sorrows away as a freshman (jk). However, ordering that second box of Domino’s is probably not a good idea for your health (though it's damn tasty). Processed and excess sugar actually decreases the immune system cells that attack bacteria. That’s why you should make sure to eat green, leafy vegetables and oats and healthy fats, among others. Vitamins are also really important to avoiding the freshman flu! Vitamin A, which you can find in eggs, mangoes and green veggies, is great for your immune system. Vitamin B6 is also great; you can find this in salmon, chicken, spinach and dairy. Oh, and then there is Vitamin C, the killer of all flus: eat plenty of oranges, tomatoes, and strawberries! You could also opt for vitamin capsules, which you can get in supermarkets or health stores.
3. Get enough sleep
Yes, college is also for staying up late with your friends or pulling all-nighters. But you also need to get enough sleep. Did you know that being tired increases your risk of catching a cold? Getting little sleep also raises your stress hormone, which is another road leading to the freshman flu. So, just remember to try to get between 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Try to cut the Netflix binges, too…
4. Exercise, exercise, exercise!
We all know exercising is important for your physical and mental health. It also increases those immune system cells that fight infections and colds. A lot of campuses have gyms now, so you can check them out! Just doing a 20 minute jog each day, or even walking to and from class and going for a bike ride will help you move a little. You can also do some yoga or simple exercises in your apartment!
5. Get your shots to avoid the freshman flu
Finally, a great way to avoid the freshman flu is by getting your flu shots! You can do this at your general practitioner (GP), simply by making an appointment for a vaccination. If you don’t have it already, you should seriously consider it. Sometimes, some countries or colleges may insist you take mandatory vaccinations for certain illnesses. An example of this is the meningitis vaccine for students. This isn’t meant to scare you though, so don’t worry! You will be contacted by your school if this is the case.
And don’t forget to go to the doctor if your flu persists! Even though there are a lot of over-the-counter medicines that can help you get better, it’s always best to go to a doctor if your flu lasts longer than it should. That’s why you need to make sure you have health insurance. Not only do you need insurance to work, but it’s a general rule of thumb that healthcare is necessary! If you need to go to the doctor for a general check-up, your insurance can pay for it. If you need dental care, your insurance might cover it. Or, let’s say you need some surgery (hopefully you don’t), your healthcare provider can cover the expensive costs.
In conclusion, there’s a lot you can do to avoid the freshman flu. Basically, stay healthy! Eat well, exercise, and get enough sleep. Obviously, avoid those that are already sick (but don’t quarantine your roommate!). With these helpful tips, you should be flu-free and ready to share your medical expertise (*cough cough*) with everyone!
Do you have any tips on avoiding the freshman flu?