Dorm life is a lot of fun. Living in such small quarters with hundreds of other students brings everyone close together, not only in terms of space but also in terms of friendship. But this intimate living situation can unfortunately also bring an unhindered exchange of germs and sickness.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should lock yourself in your dorm room and cease to interact with anyone else. But it is important to be mindful of your health. Here are seven ways that you can mitigate the risk of falling ill while living in the dorms.
1. Wash your hands (with soap!). I know, that seems pretty obvious. But keeping your hands germ-free (or as germ-free as possible) will minimize the threat of sickness.
2. Get enough sleep. As the age-old college students’ saying goes, you have the option to choose two from this list of three: sleep, socialize, good grades. And while of those three potential activities, sleeping might seem like the most shortsighted, it is in fact the most vital to your overall health. By depriving yourself of sleep you’ll leave yourself vulnerable to all sorts of ilness, thereby making it extra hard to socialize and get good grades.
3. Keep your space clean. Don’t let dirty clothing, dishes or rotting food lay around your room. These items can function as breeding ground for harmful bacteria, so the best defense is to not create these environments at all.
4. Eat a balanced diet. During test season, it can be all too easy to find yourself eating a bag of chips for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Make sure that no matter how busy you are, you’re still consuming all essential nutrients as part of a well-balanced diet.
5. Recognize when you are getting sick. Stay in tune with your body and pay attention to signs of sickness. That way, you’ll be able to deal with any issue before it gets out of hand.
6. If you do fall ill, go to your campus health center. The health center is proximate, cheap and easy. They will be happy to diagnose you and prescribe whatever medications will get you back on track.
7. Let others know that you’re sick. Even though you’re surrounded by people, college can be very “every man for himself.” Everyone is doing their own things and caught up in their own lives. So, if you find yourself under the weather, make sure that a friend or roommate knows to check in on you.
While I certainly don’t propose that anyone turn into a full-fledged hypochondriac, it is essential to be conscious of your health on campus. Do what you can to prevent illness, and if you do end up getting sick, make sure to put your health first. Because college is going to be a lot more fun when you’re healthy.