Taking steps towards staying healthy

Why so many students find themselves sick at the beginning of the semester

With the start of cold and flu season, it’s especially important that Keene State College students practice good health habits.

KSC first year Julian Seabury said that, in addition to himself, his girlfriend and one of his hallmates have gotten sick since the semester started. He said they didn’t quite know what they had contracted, but “sick is sick.”

Sebastien Mehegan / Multi Media Director

Sebastien Mehegan / Multi Media Director

With so many people feeling ill, everyone is put at risk.

KSC Coordinator for Wellness Education Tiffany Mathews said, “About 2,000 of our students live on campus and they live in very close quarters. It is more likely that illnesses would spread.”

KSC junior Jenna Egan said she agrees. “It definitely is easy to spread diseases when living on a campus with a bunch of college kids that probably don’t wash their hands all the time,” Egan said. “I just feel like it’s the Keene sickness. Everyone ends up getting a cough or a cold at the same time, usually. It goes away within a couple days, but no one knows how they got it.”

There are several actions students can take if they want to avoid getting sick.

Mathews said the recommendation from KSC and from the Center for Disease Control is to get a flu vaccination.

The Center for Health and Wellness encourages all students to go to their walk-in clinics, which happen every Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. If a student is not available at that time, they can call, make an appointment and get their flu shot then.

Getting a vaccine is not the only way students can battle these seasonal illnesses.

As a nursing major, Egan said, “Always [drink] water; hydration is really good for your body and your immune system. Making sure you’re eating every meal, because not eating will make your immune system weaken. Hand hygiene: Purell—washing your hands is the best way to get rid of germs; you’re really scrubbing it off. When you’re coughing, cough into your elbow. If you sneeze, [use] a tissue… because it’s so easy to transmit pathogens through the air by coughing and stuff like that… Just making sure that you sleep well, sleep is a real big thing.”

Even with all these good habits, no one can be completely immune. “It’s important when you’re living together in isolated communities like these to watch out for things that spread,” Seabury said.

Students shouldn’t hesitate to go to the Center for Health and Wellness if they start showing symptoms. Egan said, “If you’re really sick, get it checked out. You never know what it could be.”

“For students who may contract the flu,” said Mathews, “what we recommend is that they get rest, that they get fluids, [and] that they don’t share items with others.”

She added, “We just want to make sure that if students do get sick, they’re taking the time to rest and they’re letting their professors know so as not to transmit illnesses to others. If we all do our part to reduce that risk, then we’re less likely to get our community sick.”

Kalila Brooks can be contacted at kbrooks@kscequinox.com

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