Illnesses on the Keene State College campus are spreading like wildfire, and KSC students are speaking up on why they get sick and what they’re trying to do to prevent it.
KSC senior Harley Blodgett said that since she moved off-campus her junior year, the number of times a year she gets sick has gone down tremendously.
“When I was living on-campus, I was getting sick a lot more,” Blodgett said. “I think this was due to the fact that I was around more people in the day and also eating in the [Zorn] Dining Commons [DC]. Using the hand scanner in the DC and not washing my hands before eating definitely was one of the main reasons as to why I was getting sick so often.”
KSC senior Lea Guglielmo and KSC junior Chris Oblon agree with Blodgett’s theory on the DC hand scanners.
Guglielmo said, “I have said this since the day I moved in freshman year, that people were going to get sick from [the hand scanners].”
Oblon added, “I think what causes these [illnesses] are the DC hand print scanner that everyone and their mother uses.”
Oblon believes that this, coupled with students who don’t take care of themselves, is what causes the majority of the illnesses on the KSC campus.
In an effort to combat the spread of germs, the DC offers hand sanitizer machines by the entrance. However, as a community health major, this aggravates Guglielmo.
“I took microbiology as a prerequisite for graduate school and I know how big of an issue antibiotic resistance is becoming,” Guglielmo said.
Guglielmo continued that she can’t really see a way to combat the spread of germs in the DC.
Guglielmo said, “Many people get sick from bacteria for example, and then they will scan their hands. And then the people behind them scan theirs, and then people go and touch the tongs to get lettuce or french fries, or they touch the knobs on the cereal and then germs just spread… people eat with their hands, so germs spread fast.”
KSC junior Michaila Carey believes that it’s the close proximity to other students that helps germs spread so fast on campus.
“I am an athletic training student here at KSC, so I am in close proximity and contact with many athletes every day, whether they are healthy or sick. The increased amount of bacteria that I am surrounded by once I get to school explains why I probably get sick more often here as compared to when I am home,” Carey explained.
Carey said that when she is sick, she likes to take medication and drink a lot of fluids to get through the day.
“My favorite thing to do when I am sick is to take a wicked hot shower then wrap up in some blankets and lie down to watch Netflix for as long as I can. I think this helps me get better because it decreases my stress levels, while also focusing all my energy to fighting whatever bacteria or virus is in my body,” Carey said.
Guglielmo said, “I try to drink as much water as possible to flush out any sickness I might get. I also wash my hands often, but avoid using hand sanitizers as much as possible because I know antibiotic resistance is becoming a huge problem. I don’t ever use antibacterial soaps either.”
When Guglielmo is sick, her favorite thing to do is stay in bed.
“I drink a lot of water and talk to my mom. That always makes me feel better. Sleeping definitely helps me. I’m not sure if it makes me get better quicker, but it definitely makes me feel better,” Guglielmo said.
Blodgett said that she feels like she is more susceptible to catching something when she is overtired and makes sure to spend as much time in bed as possible when she’s sick.
Blodgett said, “My favorite thing to do when I’m sick is just lie in bed, watch Netflix and have a low-key day. I think being relaxed allows your body to focus on fighting off whatever you are sick with. Also, you just feel more mentally and physically rested.”
On the other hand, Oblon refuses to let his illnesses stop him.
Oblon said, “When I get sick I normally try to stay as active as possible, drink plenty of liquids and down as much medicine as possible. I cannot afford to get sick for even a day.”
Jill Giambruno can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org