According to Michigan Medicine, the most effective way to avoid the flu is to get vaccinated. Viruses mutate quickly, so it is important to get flu shots yearly. Try and get your flu shot as early as possible, because it takes about two weeks for your body to develop resistance. UHS gives flu shots for $38 which can be billed to student accounts for enrolled students. More information on flu vaccinations and UHS can be found here.
Another simple, but often overlooked, way to avoid the flu and sickness is to wash your hands! The key is to use warm, soapy water - and try to aim for at least 15 - 20 seconds of scrubbing. You could sing Happy Birthday to yourself twice if you want a good measure of how long to wash your hands. Check this Mott Children's article out for a fun way to see how dirty your hands really are or show it to your friends who do not wash their hands.
Beyond keeping your hands clean, you should also keep your room and other surfaces clean. Simple things like your keyboard, phone, door knobs, and pens are great places for germs to exchange and for you to catch a cold. Try keeping an alcohol-based sanitizer in your backpack or purse to help reduce the transfer of germs if you can’t wash your hands. Non-alcoholic hand sanitizers may not work for all types of bacteria, may cause germs to develop resistance to the sanitizing agent, merely reduce the growth of germs, and be more likely to irritate the skin.
Although the colder weather drives people inside to curl up in bed all day, it is important to stay active to help avoid sickness. Try to get the heart pumping and the blood flowing at least 20 minutes a day. A strong, active heart leads to more immunity and faster recovery time. If you are already sick, it is okay to exercise but make sure to not over do it. If you have a temperature of over 100 degrees or serious cold symptoms, it is important to rest and let your body focus on healing itself.
-Contributed by Sam G., Neighborhood Ambassador