Ballin’ on a Budget

Keep yourself and your wallet healthy this flu season

More stories from Natalie Fleming

Ballin’ on a Budget
November 12, 2018

The spooky season is here yet again, and I’m not talking about Halloween. A more frightening season is upon us: flu season.

There are more than 3 million reported cases of influenza per year. The virus is easily distributed, especially on a campus of over 10,000 students. Coughing, sneezing, doorknobs, shared drinks, handshakes and hugs are only a few of the many ways this virus travels.

There are plenty of simple and cheap ways to prevent the flu from barging in this flu season.

Wash those hands

While this may seem obvious, many people most likely could count on one hand how many times they’ve washed their hands today. Washing hands shouldn’t just be reserved for after bathroom use. It’s a habit that should be muscle memory by now — especially because so many people are sharing desks, door handles, staircases, phones and water fountains.

Hand sanitizer is also an important preventative measure to keep the flu away. Any time someone sneezes or blows their nose, they should make sure to use a little hand sanitizer to kill the germs.

Get vaccinated

It is the easiest way to build up your immune system and fight the influenza virus. An even greater incentive to receive a flu shot is that students get them free at UW-Eau Claire. Flu shot stands are set up everywhere. If a student is unsure which building they’ll be in today, they can go to the nursing hall for more information. Within fifteen minutes they’ll be vaccinated and ready for the upcoming flu season.

Munch on vitamins

Another way to keep your immune system strong is to take a supplement containing vitamin C, vitamin E and iron. These are cheap and can be found at a nearby Walgreens or Target. About five dollars will help keep a student healthy through the transition into colder weather.

Sick day

At the first signs of sickness, students should take a day off of school or work and rest up with plenty of fluids. One day off is better than contracting the virus even further and having to spend a week or more in miserable sweats, fever, chills and facing expenses if hospitalization is required. It’s vital that students listen to their bodies.

If a student’s roommate is sick, they should try and spend time outside of their shared living space. The less time in contact with someone who is ill, the greater chance of not contracting the virus. Study in your building’s recreation rooms, a coffee shop or friend’s dorm to stay focused on classwork while avoiding the flu.

Change those sheets

It is so easy to focus on school and self care, but not room care. If someone is sleeping in the same sheets for three weeks at a time — no matter how many times they wash their hands or take a shower — the risk of contracting the flu increases greatly by resting in a dirty environment.

In addition to the sheets, the room itself should be cleaned and sanitized. This means wiping down remotes, phones, laptops, water bottles, desks and doorknobs — the whole shabang. Bacteria is easily transferred on everyday items used often.

There are many simple everyday actions students can take to prevent the flu this year. Keeping the flu away does not have to be a hassle — it doesn’t take too much cash or time to stay healthy, so students should make their health a priority.  

Fleming can be reached at [email protected].