It’s that time of year when flu season runs rampant. Yes, it’s still a thing, even with COVID lurking around. When finals are near, college students seem to start getting sick. The stress of studying, not sleeping, eating junk, and taking their health for granted can take a toll. With all the protocols in place, this is still prime time for the campus to have an outbreak. Here are some of the most common illnesses among college students to look out for:
The flu, or influenza, can occur any time of the year but usually shows up when it starts getting cooler outside. Lots of rest and fluids usually take care of the nasty bug, but things can quickly become serious. Students who have a history of breathing problems or underlying illnesses should take extra precautions. If they don’t feel well, visiting the student health center or going to urgent care may be needed.
Mono carries a host of symptoms and is spread through saliva. Caused by the Epstein-Barr virus, this is another virus that requires lots of rest, hydration, and over-the-counter pain meds. Common symptoms of this virus are headaches, fever, fatigue, sore throat, and weakening of the muscles.
Upper Respiratory Infections (common cold)
If you have a cough you can’t get rid of, chances are you have a cold or upper respiratory infection. These spread like wildfire on college campuses if not careful. Rest and fluids is the only way to get rid of this, but if a fever shows up and lasts over a week, it’s time to seek medical attention. The last thing you want is to experience an infection.
A 24-hour stomach flu is not uncommon on a college campus. Some people call it food poisoning. At any rate, these usually clear up (after some time in the bathroom) and last anywhere between 24 to 48 hours. It’s no fun, but sometimes, you just need to clean your system. If the symptoms of sharp pains in the stomach, diarrhea and vomiting go past that time or are too unbearable, do not wait – go to the student health center or urgent care immediately.
There are a few ways to circumvent these illnesses if you’re careful. Washing your hands, sanitizing your areas, using hand sanitizer, and getting adequate sleep are all part of staying healthy. Now that things are opening back up, it’s not the time to get lax about taking care of yourself. Be vigilant and safe.