How to survive this cold and flu season
With cold and flu season in full swing, it’s important to make sure you keep yourself and those around you healthy. Here are a few tips to help keep illnesses at bay.
Get a flu shot
Most people aren’t aware that there are several strains of flu each year, some of which prove to be fatal. A way to protect yourself from these strains is by getting vaccinated.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Flu vaccinations reduce the risk of flu illness by between 40 and 60 percent.”
Timing is also crucial when getting vaccinated because it takes two weeks for it to set in. The CDC recommends getting a flu shot by the end of October. Low-cost flu shots are available at Olin Health Center, Brody Hall, Holden Hall, Hubbard Hall, McDonel Hall and CVS pharmacies.
Wash your hands
Hand-washing is the simplest way to stop the spread of illness. It stops the spread of germs into food, hard surfaces and to the eyes, nose and mouth. According to the CDC, hand-washing can prevent around 20 percent of respiratory infections. If your hands are already washed, it doesn’t hurt to use hand sanitizer as an extra defense.
Sanitize your space
Keeping your space clean is one way to prevent illness from spreading. It can be as simple as using disinfectant spray on door knobs and other shared items in your living space. For shared spaces — such as the bathroom and kitchen — make sure to clean them once a day.
Things such as used tissues should always end up in the trash and try to avoid contact with clothing and any other items you know are contaminated.
Quarantine yourself and your belongings
If you’re sick, stay home from school or work so you don’t infect others. This can prove to be difficult on a college campus since you’re constantly surrounded by people.
If you have to go out, make sure to wear a surgical mask as a courtesy to those around you. Olin Health Center suggests keeping six feet between yourself and the sick person. Be sure not to share eating utensils, sheets or clothes in order to minimize the spread of illness.
Know when to seek help
According to Olin Health Center, 40 percent of students reported having colds or the flu last year. Sometimes, colds can be managed at home without seeing a physician. However, if you become sick and have difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, confusion, consistent vomiting or other flu-like symptoms, you should seek emergency medical treatment at Olin or Sparrow Hospital.
If you’re not sure if your symptoms require emergency treatment, you can speak with a nurse at Olin at 517-353-5557.
Take vitamin C
It’s been said the most common remedies for colds and flu is consuming mass amounts of vitamin C when you fall ill. However, a Harvard Medical School study showed this proves to be ineffective for most people.
It’s recommended that individuals eat five servings of fruit and vegetables each day to maintain normal, healthy vitamin C levels.
Take care of yourself before you fall ill
The only thing that can cure the flu is time. To save yourself from spending the time and money to recover, take care of yourself. Make sure you’re getting at least eight hours of sleep of night. Keep hydrated and make sure to eat a balanced diet.