The height of flu season is quickly approaching, though I think it hit a few of us a little early. My holidays were pretty well hijacked by a respiratory virus and/or flu. Unfortunately, there were several students on campus during final exams week who had various viruses, bronchitis, and even pneumonia. If you look at some of the reasons we get sick, it is no wonder that the stress, anxiety, and lack of sleep during final exams is an open door for colds, flu, and most any virus.
There are tips for how best to cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze. I received this video about a year ago and thought it was a good laugh and drives the point home.
Did you know that there may be up to 200 cold viruses? No wonder we’re so susceptible. We normally get three to four colds each year, but kids get six. For those of us who work around or with kids, this is probably no surprise and answers why we catch them more. Even though my students are adults, many of them work with kids, have younger siblings, or have kids of their own. The potential for passing around viruses in a school environment is pretty high.
The number one way to prevent the flu or a cold is by washing your hands frequently. The virus is most often transmitted by touching an object that has been touched by someone who is infected. Using just water will even wash most rhinoviruses away. However, using soap forces you to rub your hands together and rinse longer, so soap is always a good idea.
If you haven’t gotten a flu shot yet, there is still time. The height of flu season is historically mid-January to mid-February, so get vaccinated now if you haven’t done so yet.
Another good practice is getting enough sleep, and getting productive sleep. When you get enough quality sleep, you are better equipped to fight off viruses. A 2009 Carnegie Mellon University study showed that people who got less than seven hours of sleep were three times more likely to catch the cold and flu virus. Outlook and attitude are also important. A positive outlook and reduced stress will also help boost the immune system.
Ever wondered if you have a cold or the flu? Wondered if you should go to school or work feeling the way you do? Here is a great quiz from WebMD to determine whether or not you should stay home. Most colleagues, classmates, and teachers will appreciate your not sharing your virus with everyone. Just make sure you don't wait until you've missed classes, assignments, and exams before letting someone know you're sick. Notice after the fact is always difficult to work with, so get in touch and stay in touch as soon as possible. An assignment submitted electronically is a good way to keep from spreading colds and flu!