The last thing you need when you have an upcoming exam or essay is to get sick. So what steps can college students take to remain healthy while at college?
Here are 15 important tips to avoid getting sick at college:
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Avoid sharing materials or objects.
- Get vaccines and shots.
- Manage stress.
- Exercise regularly.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Get adequate sleep.
- Avoid sick people.
- Use hand sanitizer.
- Disinfect surfaces often.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Clean your room.
- Stay hydrated.
- Get vitamin C.
- Have a first aid kit.
The rest of this article will discuss the techniques above in detail. To learn to ward off sickness while you’re at college, read on.
1. Wash Your Hands Frequently
The first and perhaps most obvious piece of advice to avoid catching illnesses while at college is to wash your hands frequently. We use our hands often and daily, and trillions of disease-causing agents like bacteria and viruses can linger on surfaces we touch (source).
We spread these agents when we touch these surfaces and then touch something else. People touch their faces often throughout the day, generally without realizing it.
When this happens, a person can infect themselves.
You kill any potential disease-spreading germs by washing your hands with clean, running water and soap. Not only do you keep yourself healthy, but you also keep others healthy.
2. Avoid Sharing Materials or Objects
This next tip goes hand-in-hand with the first tip. Any object we handle will transfer germs from our hands onto the thing. This is especially true with personal items like razors and toothbrushes, which can have bodily fluids on them.
If an infected person touches an object, then gives it to another person to use, they run the risk of infecting that other person. By not sharing things, you can prevent the spread of germs and diseases (source).
3. Get Vaccines and Shots
Along with maintaining cleanliness, staying up to date on shots and vaccines will help you remain healthy at college. Vaccines strengthen the immune system and help prevent infectious diseases from spreading.
They work by introducing a weakened form of a disease to the body. This weakened disease can’t make you sick, but it allows the body to create antibodies against the disease. In the future, if you contract the disease, your body’s antibodies will prevent you from getting sick (source).
If you’re vaccinated against a disease, you can’t spread it to others. Maintaining up-to-date shots will ensure you won’t contract any diseases or spread them to others.
4. Manage Stress
We deal with stress on a daily basis, which has a wide array of effects on the body, ranging from negative to positive. However, one of the adverse effects of stress is its effect on the immune system.
Stress reduces the body’s ability to fight off diseases, as several different hormones are released when we’re stressed. One of these hormones is a corticosteroid, which weakens the immune system by reducing lymphocytes, and that makes you more susceptible to disease (source).
Also, stress can result in unhealthy coping mechanisms, increasing the likelihood of getting sick. Managing stress is crucial for avoiding getting ill.
5. Exercise Regularly
Exercise has many, many benefits on the body. It improves mental and physical health and strengthens several bodily systems, including the immune system. Regular exercise enhances the body’s ability to fight off disease (source).
When you exercise, several things happen. As you exert yourself, you breathe heavier and faster, which helps to clear the lungs and nose of any bacteria. Exercise improves cardiovascular health, which helps antibodies and white blood cells circulate easier.
Exercise also raises your body temperature. This rise in temperature makes the growth of bacteria more difficult. Finally, exercise reduces stress and stress-related hormones.
These all work together to help you avoid illness.
6. Eat a Healthy Diet
Along with regular exercise, a healthy diet has plenty of benefits. Eating quality foods provides the body with the necessary nutrients and reduces stress, and reduces the risk of contracting several diseases (source).
A healthy diet includes lean proteins like chicken breast, complex carbohydrates like potatoes or whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and certain types of fats. These sources of food provide necessary nutrients for overall well-being.
Perhaps more importantly, though, eating the right foods when sick is crucial for a quick recovery. Replacing fluids and electrolytes while also getting your necessary nutrients will allow your body to fight off the disease more effectively.
By eating healthy, you won’t only recover from illness quicker, but you’ll promote long-term health. This will, in turn, help you avoid disease better.
7. Get Adequate Sleep
The last pillar of good health, along with exercise and diet, is sleep. Sleep is essential for health. It’s necessary for brain health, emotional well-being, physical fitness, and performance during the day. Besides the health benefits, sleep is more important if you’re sick (source).
Sleep gives your body the time it needs to recover and fight off disease.
Sleeping allows your body to recover from any disease or stress you may be feeling and gives your body the necessary time to repair from the day. It’s even more critical, however, when you’re sick.
Sleep boosts your immune system and lets your body fight off disease. That’s why people are often sleepy when they’re sick. Sleep is necessary for recovery (source).
By exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, and getting proper sleep, you’re promoting long-term health. This boosts your immune system and allows you to better fight off disease and avoid getting sick.
8. Avoid Sick People
If someone is sick, you’ll want to avoid that person. Likewise, if you do find yourself sick, you must avoid going near people, which will ensure you don’t catch or spread any diseases.
If you’re around someone who’s sick and can’t avoid them, there are still a few steps you can take. By covering your mouth and nose, you can limit the possibility of bacteria or a virus entering your body (source).
Avoiding sick people is necessary to avoid catching a disease. If you find yourself sick, it’s also essential you avoid going around people to avoid spreading diseases.
9. Use Hand Sanitizer
Although not a replacement for hand washing, hand sanitizer should be used alongside hand washing. If soap and water aren’t available to wash your hands, then hand sanitizing can be a suitable replacement (source).
The guidelines for hand washing and using hand sanitizer are similar. Hand sanitizer can be used before and after handling food, being around sick people, and after using the bathroom.
It’s vital to use the correct type of hand sanitizer, however.
Hand sanitizer should be at least 60% alcohol, which is the most effective concentration to kill bacteria and inactivate viruses.
Along with washing your hands, using hand sanitizer is important to avoid catching an illness. However, it shouldn’t be used as a replacement for washing your hands and instead should be done alongside hand washing.
10. Disinfect Surfaces Often
Along with washing your hands, another measure you should take to avoid getting sick is frequently cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. By disinfecting surfaces, you kill any disease-causing germs found on them, which helps to prevent the spread of any disease.
Because of how common germs are, and because you can’t wash or sanitize your hands constantly, cleaning is necessary to fight disease. You should sanitize any objects or surfaces that are frequently touched with an appropriate product, like bleach or alcohol (source).
By disinfecting often touched surfaces, you’ll ensure that you won’t spread any disease-causing germs. Surface disinfection and frequent hand washing are necessary to avoid getting or spreading illness.
11. Avoid Touching Your Face
Avoiding touching your face is another crucial element to prevent getting sick. When you touch your face with infected hands, the disease-causing agents found on your hands can enter your body and cause illness.
It’s estimated that people touch their faces over 20 times an hour, meaning there are 20 chances to get infected per hour. Along with disinfecting surfaces and washing your hands, not touching your face will limit your chances of becoming ill (source).
By not touching your face, you’ll ensure bacteria and viruses can’t enter your body. If they can’t enter your body, then they can’t cause any illness.
12. Clean Your Room
People spend a lot of time in their rooms, especially in college. Maintaining a clean room ensures that there are no contaminants, like pests or dust, that could potentially make you sick.
A dirty room will likely also have more bacteria, increasing the risk of illness.
Activities like cleaning furniture, vacuuming, mopping, and sanitizing surfaces keep your room, and you, healthy. Dirty rooms are more likely to have things like pests and bacteria, both of which can transmit disease. To avoid getting sick, clean your room often (source).
By cleaning your room often, you’ll ensure no disease-causing agents are found in it. This will prevent you from getting sick or spreading disease to others.
13. Stay Hydrated
Water is essential for life. Due to several properties, like the ability to dissolve nearly any substance, water is critical for health.
Staying hydrated, especially when you’re sick, will help you avoid getting sick.
By consuming adequate water, you’ll be ensuring good health. This will make it easier for your body to avoid and fight off disease. However, water plays an even more significant role if you’re already sick (source).
When you’re sick, your body utilizes a lot of resources to fight off the disease. One of these resources is water. You’ll have to replace that water through hydration, which allows your body to fight off the disease easier.
Staying hydrated is essential because it’s necessary for biological function. It also helps you fight off things that make you sick if you’re already infected while also promoting good health to avoid you getting sick in the first place.
14. Get Vitamin C
Vitamins are essential for good health, but one of the most valuable vitamins to avoid getting sick is vitamin C. This boosts your immune system while fighting sickness if you’re already infected.
Vitamin C is necessary for the body to form various structures, as well as to help your body heal. There are plenty of different sources of vitamin C, including (source):
- Citrus fruits
- Oral vitamin C supplements
15. Have a First Aid Kit
A first aid kit should be available at all times. By having one on hand that’s stocked up, you’ll be ready for any potential medical troubles that come up. You’ll never know when an emergency or illness could pop up, so being prepared is key.
There are several different items you could stock in a first aid kit. However, you should always have a few staples. Some things to have stocked include (source):
- Wraps and bandages
Along with items for injuries, you should also have items for illness. Some items to stock up on include:
By having and maintaining a first aid kit, you’ll be ready for any medical emergency. You’ll have the tools to not only prevent but also fight off any illness you may encounter at college.