Nobody likes being sick. Especially with the flu. In a college dorm.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported an estimate of 9.8-11.4 million flu cases from Oct. 1, 2017 – Jan. 19, 2018 in the United States. Every year, the flu is the cause of
many medical visits, hospitalizations and even deaths (CDC). With these five tips, the flu may be avoided.
1. If possible, get your flu shot.
According to the CDC, the flu shot decreases your risk of being infected by 40-60%. Students at Point Loma Nazarene University have access to the Wellness Center where they offer flu shots for $25 (PLNU Immunization and Services Cost Sheet). The college’s website states, “The Wellness Center provides free, confidential, limited primary care health services to PLNU undergraduate students registered on the main campus.”
2. Use paper towels.
Sponges and cloth towels are germ pools. They can accumulate those nasty flu organisms in as little as 72 hours, according to Charles Gerba, Ph.D and microbiologist at the University of Arizona to Silver Sneakers by Tivity Health. If you know someone around you is sick, skip the cloth towels and go for what is disposable for your own sake.
3. Sleep. Yes, even in college.
You might be able to hear your mom’s voice in the back of your head saying “get plenty of rest!” and she was right. Getting an average of 8–10 hours of sleep per night can be difficult for college students but it is important to make it a priority according to an article on the flu season and sleep by Psychology Today. “Sleep is important in the functioning of the body’s immune system” as I am sure you recall. It explains that infections and the body’s inflammatory response can result in sleepiness. The human body is required to save energy to fight off infections and germs. “Getting good sleep is not a guarantee that you won’t get the flu, but it will help maximize your chances of being resistant as possible” (Psychology Today).
4. Consider taking oregano oil supplements.
Multiple studies done in 2011 and 2017 by the National Center for Biotechnology Information show how powerful oregano oil is really is. According to an article by Health line, “Oregano oil is an herbal supplement that has antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.” It contains healing compounds such as thymol, terpinine and carvacrol and is said to be beneficial for cold and flu symptoms. Since this oil contains carvacrol, it has the capacity to stop viruses in their tracks (Health line). Documented by the NCBI, this oil is known to treat fevers and respiratory symptoms, both which are associated with the flu. It is available in capsule form at local health food stores or as an ingestible essential oil from FDA approved brands.
5. Stay hydrated.
Drinking plenty of water decreases your chance of getting sick according to The University of Tennessee Medical Center. Staying hydrated in the winter keeps mucous membranes soft preventing tiny cracks that allow viruses and bacteria to enter (UT).
Dr. Chelsea McNair, PharmD says “Avoid contact with people who are sick [and] if you are feeling sick, stay home…consult your local pharmacist or physician if you need recommendations on treating your symptoms or if your symptoms are not improving within 5–7 days.”