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Why Everyone in College Keeps Getting Sick

Why Everyone in College Keeps Getting Sick

In college, students have the opportunity to explore new places, new subjects, and new lifestyles. Unfortunately, they also have the opportunity to experience new diseases.

Because so many people are crammed into such a small area, universities tend to be crawling with different diseases that can keep students (and professors) out of class. In some cases, these diseases can pose extreme health risks ― which means staying healthy and disease-free should be of paramount importance.

The Disease Factories that are College Campuses

Before students can set foot on college campuses, many universities require them to receive immunizations for several illnesses that the greater population should never encounter. Vaccines for meningococcal meningitis, pertussis, and human papillomavirus aren’t mandatory for any other life event, so why must college students receive them?

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The answer is simple: university campuses are disgusting. The primary problem, to almost no one’s surprise, lies with the students. The vast majority of campus populations are composed of brand-new adults, recently removed from their parents’ houses and experiencing dramatic lifestyle changes in short periods of time. Though these young people are supposed to assume adult-level responsibility, few practice standard levels of hygiene: throwing out rotting food, regularly cleaning dishes, clothing, and linens, washing hands properly, etc.

Worse, most college students develop bad habits such as neglecting sleep, eating poorly, socializing wildly, and experiencing untenable amounts of stress, which weaken their immune systems and make them more susceptible to contagious disease. The result is a mass of dirty, vulnerable bodies speaking, coughing, and kissing all in the same space, spreading germs back and forth, and creating a haven for disease.

Best Strategies for Avoiding Disease

Perhaps the best way to avoid succumbing to sickness throughout one’s college career is to stay far away from campuses and choose online courses, instead.

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However, for the millions of students who opt to go away to college, there are other solutions. The first was already mentioned above: vaccination. Despite anti-vaxers’ claims, vaccines are quite possibly the primary reason the mortality rates in developed countries are so low. Becoming immunized from certain diseases before attending college is as important as becoming immunized before traveling to certain countries. At the very least, students should obtain the following vaccines on their necessary schedules:

  • Meningococcal conjugate vaccine
  • TDAP (tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis) vaccine
  • HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine
  • Seasonal influenza

Additionally, students should practice good hygiene. All hygiene-related rules from parents’ houses apply in college, which means students should avoid sharing food, drink, and linens, have a laundry schedule, shower regularly, and brush their teeth well. Pursuing a degree in public health will equip students with the knowledge of how to stay healthy and keep others safe as well. However, there are a few additional rules students should follow while living in cramped university housing:

Don’t wash dishes in the bathroom. Only slobs eat where they, you-know, so it doesn’t make sense to bring eating utensils in there, either. Most dorms have community kitchens with more sanitary sinks for washing up after meals.

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Always dry off completely. Whether the moistness comes from sweat, rain, or a hot, sanitizing shower, students should try to get dry as soon as possible. Damp conditions are ideal for all sorts of bacteria and fungus, especially when coupled with the warmth of a classroom.

Sanitize the places that touch hands. Doorknobs, mini-fridge handles, bed ladders, keyboards, book covers ― they all could use a regular wipe-down with a disinfecting cloth.

Finally, it should go without saying ― then again, all hygiene rules should ― but everyone in college must be sexually cautious. According to the CDC, half of all sexually transmitted diseases diagnosed in the U.S. are among young people between ages 15 and 24, and plenty of disastrous STDs produce few or no outward symptoms. Because the obvious way to avoid STDs usually isn’t tenable, students should always have latex condoms on hand and get tested for STDs on a yearly schedule.

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No college student can entirely avoid getting sick, but by adopting some minor responsibilities in regards to hygiene, most students can dodge the deadliest diseases. Then, everyone can happily and healthfully explore the new opportunities available only on college campuses.

Featured photo credit: Savannah River Site – CCBY2.0License via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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