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The Antelope

The flu season: sharing is not always caring

According to WebMD, the best way to avoid getting the flu is to get a vaccine.


It is common knowledge that illnesses can spread via inhaling germs in the air via cough or sneeze or by touching a germy surface (such as keyboards, doorknobs, and other commonly touched surfaces). What might not be as widely known is that, when someone touches one of these surfaces an hour after germs were introduced to the surface, there’s research showing that germs were transferred over half of the time. After 18 hours, they were shown to be transferred about a third of the time. This research was conducted by Owen Hendley, a University of Virginia in Charlottesville professor of medicine.

So, what can be done to combat this?

 Wash your hands! According to the CDC, it’s the best practice to wash your hands with soap for a minimum of 20 seconds. Surprisingly, it lists either cold or warm water, just so long as it’s clean. Remember to use a paper towel or some other surface to turn off the water and keep your hands clean. This is the same if the bathroom door has a handle that needs to be touched.

Hand sanitizers aren’t as effective as handwashing, but they’re still a good option to stay healthy. According to the CDC, the hand sanitizer needs to be 60% alcohol at minimum. Remember to refrain from touching your face. This might be something that’s done unconsciously, but it can affect your health.

Another way to stay healthy that might not be as commonly known, according to WebMD and Johns Hopkins Medicine, is that remaining optimistic or “positive,” can improve wellness. There isn’t a definite reason that’s been determined for this connection, but it’s nice to think that being happy can help you fight off that cold or flu virus.

  Get enough sleep. College students are particularly notorious for forgoing sleep in order to complete assignments but doing so can cause problems for your immune system.

If you can, get vaccinated against the flu. This will keep you and others around you healthier. Make sure to drink plenty of liquids, but stay away from those that exacerbate dehydration, according to the Mayo Clinic, such as caffeinated drinks and alcohol. Another suggestion, via WebMD, is to eat protein. This is because it contains vitamins and minerals that help your immune system. Gargling salt water can help ease a painful throat. The Mayo Clinic suggests 8 ounces of water to dissolve a fourth to a half of a teaspoon of salt.

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