Stay healthy during cold and flu season

By Karen Schweizer
October 18, 2001

The temperature is dropping, and your roommate is coughing while you struggle to sleep. You go home for the weekend, and your little sister hugs you with a pair of hands covered in lollipop, cookies and snot. You are beginning to sneeze.

Cold season has started on campus and the flu is on its way, according to the school nurse Susan Fitzgerald. Students need good hygiene in order to protect against these bugs. “The best thing that you can do,” Fitzgerald said, “is wash your hands.”

Everywhere, sink knobs and telephones, have the potential for carrying a virus. Good manners, like coughing into hands, actually can aggravate spreading because it puts the virus onto other people and objects.

To stay healthy during the season, the American College Health Association suggests using disposable tissues, eating a balanced diet, keeping stress levels low and keeping room humidity up.

Cold classrooms, like some in Founders Hall, will not make you sick. “The cold won’t make you sick. It’s an old wives tale,” Fitzgerald said. However, it may weaken your immune system. Walking around with wet hair won’t do it either.”

Smokers’ immune systems are in high danger at this time of year. They should try to cut back smoking during a cold. Smoking enhances cold suffering by irritating nasal passages and increasing the risk of getting bronchitis or pneumonia, according to the American College Health Association.

A remedy for the cold is taking vitamin C. Both Fitzgerald and the American College Health Association say that it “couldn’t hurt.” Other popular cold remedies that people can try include decongestants like Sudafed, antihistamines; cough suppressants and cough syrup with expectorants.

If students are sick, the Health Services department in the Rooymans center is open for use. Doctor Madeline Danny sees patients Wednesday from 10 to 12 p.m. and Fridays from 9 to 10 a.m. Students need appointments to see her but “it is not hard to get one,” according to Fitzgerald.

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Karen Schweizer

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