As winter approaches, so does the risk of coming down with infectious bugs. It is important for individuals to receive their immunizations, including the flu shot. College campuses are hubs for infection, and below are some of the best ways to prevent the spread of infection and lower the risk of contracting illness. There are also some resources and locations that you can receive a flu shot.
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Most infections are spread through contact and some common surfaces that are a breeding ground for infection include your cell phone, computer keyboard and door handles. When you are out in communal areas it is important to wash your hands thoroughly. You should wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with warm soap and water, but if you only have hand sanitizer, that will suffice.
- Avoid touching your nose, mouth, eyes or face. All of these areas have direct access to the body and can spread infection through contact. Use tissues to rub your eyes or nose, and it’s important to keep your fingernails short in order to prevent the amount of bacteria that can harbor under your nails.
- Getting enough sleep is important in order to keep the immune system strong and allow the body to heal. This is especially important among college students who often don’t receive enough sleep. Sleep has a direct influence on the body’s immune system, which can increase one’s susceptibility to contracting illness. An individual should receive at least 7-8 hours of sleep in order to receive its optimal benefits.
- Eat a healthy and well-rounded diet by incorporating lots of fruits and veggies. These foods contain a multitude of phytonutrients that help to improve the immune system and promote health. Some amazing vegetables and fruits include kale and spinach, oranges, lemons and limes.
The flu is one of the most common illnesses seen on college campuses, primarily since college students live in such close quarters. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the flu vaccine is 40-60 percent effective at preventing the flu.
“In 2016-2017, flu vaccination prevented an estimated 5.3 million influenza illnesses, 2.6 million influenza-associated medical visits, and 85,000 influenza-associated hospitalizations,” states the Centers for Disease Control.
There are a variety of places that individuals can go to receive cheap flu vaccinations. The health center at Jewell offers flu vaccines for $12. Local CVS and Walgreens locations offer free flu shots if individuals show the provider their health insurance card.