Steps to avoid illness this fall

It’s that time of year. It’s time to vote, set your clocks back and to get a flu shot. The flu and cold are all around us this season. Do yourself and others a favor and get vaccinated.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting the flu vaccination, also known as the influenza vaccine, by the end of October because it takes approximately two weeks before the shot becomes effective.

The flu, unlike a regular cold, is usually immediate and can become severe. It is incredibly important that you take care of yourself during this time of year, especially if you live on campus.

If you do happen to get a cold, Tom Miller, a professor at Health University of Utah, warns that you don’t necessarily always have to visit a doctor.

“What you should see a physician for is if you have shortness of breath, if you have any chest pains, if you have difficulty breathing or if you have a high fever,” Miller said. 

Taking preventative measures instead of reactionary measures is your best bet at avoiding influenza. The most popular preventative measures, according to William Blahd, board-certified emergency medicine specialist, include washing your hands, using alcohol-based hand sanitizer, avoiding sick people, keeping your surroundings clean and to rest.  

“The number one thing everyone can do to avoid getting sick is wash their hands,” said Tiffany McManis, director of Washburn Student Health Services. 

Some of these may seem self explanatory and simple, but it never hurts to be reminded. Getting sick around midterms doesn’t make this already stressful time any easier. 

Take it from Marissa Wagner, freshman, who caught a cold right as it was time to take her first college midterms ever.

“It’s not fun,” Wagner said. “It adds another layer of unneeded stress. This has been the hardest week of college yet.”

Not only does it cause excess stress for you as the student, but it also creates a hassle for your professors. Making arrangements for alternative test dates and, sometimes, creating new tests is unnecessary weight on the shoulders of the instructors.