Health and Wellness in the Dorm Room
Being sick on campus is not the same as being sick at home. It is more like it is everywhere else you would go, such as work or back in grade school, in that people want you to stay away from them and not get them sick. Some are nicer about it than others, but to protect them and yourself, you must do everything you can to stay well. Getting sick may be inevitable and more easily spread in the close quarters of a college dormitory, but living a healthy lifestyle will make the ride a little smoother. When you get sick, try to do the following:
1. Keep your part of the room tidy. There may not be much you can do about airborne viruses since you breathe the same air, but keeping surface areas clean and putting garbage in the trash bin is a step in the right direction. When dealing with common areas, do the same to everything that is used or touched by everyone including yourself.
2. Cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough and then wash your hands immediately afterward. This will help prevent the spread of germs. Coughing or sneezing into your arm as seen on MythBusters is a good strategy as well, provided no one touches your arm later.
3. Go to the health center on campus or your primary care doctor. If it's nothing more than a headcold, you can purchase over-the-counter remedies at the school store and take care of yourself from there. If it's a more serious infection that needs prescription medication, it's important that you see your physician and do as instructed.
4. Don't panic. This goes for both the one who is sick and those around them. Blaming the person who got sick or shunning them does not prevent you from getting sick nor does it heal the sick any faster. It only makes matters worse and degrades the interpersonal relationship between roommates. The worst times to get sick are at the beginning or end of a semester where those relationships may be fragile to begin with, not that anyone can control the timing of an illness. You must be tolerant of each other and sympathetic to some degree. After all, you wouldn't want to be treated that way if you were the one who got sick.
5. Try not to get sick in the first place. Everyone gets sick, but there are some ways to delay the inevitable. Usually when someone is sick they are told to drink orange juice so the vitamin C can help fight the infection. However, drinking orange juice or taking supplementary tablets or lozenges before or at the onset of something can help immensely. Eating right, exercising, and having good hygiene are essential as well.
In a nutshell, take care of yourself, take preventative measures, and be kind to others because we all get sick sometime and it's never fun for anyone, least of all for the person who is ailing.
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