How to Survive the Freshman Plague

For many incoming Freshmen, this will be the first time living away from home. And with a new environment comes exposure to new people - and new germs. 

Here are some tips on how to avoid catching the cold during your first few weeks of college:

1.Take Vitamin C supplements

Taking a Vitamin C supplement each morning can help to strengthen your immune system, especially in a new environment like a college campus. If you’re uncomfortable taking a pill, I highly recommend NatureMade’s Vitamin gummies, which can be found in most convenience or grocery stores. 

2.  Stock up on medicine before coming to school

Fill a small box with all of the medicines you usually take when you fall ill and store it somewhere in your dorm room. It’s a much better alternative than having to drag yourself out of bed while feeling under the weather to walk to the store. But if you did forget to stock up on your essentials, the Rite Aid located across Route 9 should carry all that you need in a pinch! 

3. Disinfect gym equipment before and after use

It is common courtesy to wipe down weights, benches, and machines after you have finished using them at the gym —  it also stops the spread of germs, most people don’t do it though. A study conducted by FitRated showed that a treadmill can host 74 times more bacteria than the bacteria found on a water faucet. Even worse, the same study also found 362 times more bacteria on free weights than on a toilet seat. It’s also best not to assume the person who used the equipment before you wiped it down, so make sure you do your own swab before starting your workout. 

4. Clean your phone often

According to a University of Arizona study, our smartphones carry 10 times more bacteria than most toilet seats. It would be smart to consider cleaning your phone more often, which can be done with either isopropyl rubbing alcohol or Windex. However, do not pour the cleaning liquid directly onto your phone - it’s best to use a microfiber cloth that comes with most phones, but paper towels can do just fine. 

5. Do not share drinks or utensils

Freshman year is all about mixing and mingling with your peers as you try and make friends, but don’t share your germs with them. According to an article published by the Huffington Post, transferring saliva can lead to strep throat, the common cold, mumps, and, on some occasions, meningitis. 

6. Get vaccinated

If you swear by getting a flu shot every year to combat flu season, don’t worry. Both Marist Health Services and Rite Aid offer the immunization. 

But no matter how many preventative steps we take, we aren’t perfect. Here’s what to do if you do become sick:

1. Do not go to class

We’re not saying that you should probably skip class if you start to sniffle, but be courteous to your fellow students, as well as to your professors, if you develop a serious cold. It’s better to stay home and try to contain your cold rather than exposing yourself more and spreading it to others.

2. Make an appointment with health services 

Health Services holds office hours from 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays, as well as 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Schedule an appointment with them prior to stopping in the office. Phone number: 845-575-3270

3. Disinfect your dorm room

A study conducted by showed that men’s dorm rooms boasted 6 million colony-forming units (CFUs) of bacteria, while women’s dorms contained 1.5 million CFUs. The dirtiest places in each dorm examined in the study were the doorknobs, bathroom door knobs and light switches, dressers, and bed sheets. It’s always a good idea to regularly clean your sheets and wipe down the surfaces in your dorm room, but doing so after you’ve been sick stops it from spreading.

Alexandria WattsComment