Flu season has hit in full force–and on a college campus, that’s bad news. With loads of students, faculty members, staff, and visitors, and with communal spaces and close-quartered dorms, college campuses are basically incubators, making it pretty easy to get sick. But before you give into the flu bug, or even the common cold, take these germ-fighting steps that just may keep you healthy:
1. The Elbow Trick. Gotta sneeze? That’s okay. It’s natural. But be respectful of others around you. Instead of sneezing your germs into the air, cover up by covering your mouth with your elbow. That way, not only will you be protecting others from potential sickness, but you’ll also be protecting yourself by keeping it off your hands. Literally.
2. Cafeteria Etiquette. Perhaps the germiest place on campus is the campus dining hall, especially if it’s buffet-style. Just think about it: all those people plus all that food equals all those cooties. Think about bringing some hand sanitizer with you, or be extra careful about what you touch. It might seem a little overzealous, but it’s better than being sick.
3. Wash, Wash, Wash. By far this is the simplest and most effective way to fight off any sickness, especially the flu. After you use the restroom—or even periodically through your day—wash your hands (and use soap, of course). Think about it this way: every time you wash your hands then somewhere a fairy doesn’t contract the flu.
4. Accountability. If your friends are hacking their lungs out, or even if they’re being a little unsanitary, then call them out. No one’s going to call you a bad friend for not wanting to get sick, so speak up.
5. Common Sense. If you can see that someone’s visibly sick, then you might want to think about staying away from him or her until they’re better. If your roommate’s sick, sleep on a friend’s couch, or make sure you clean the surfaces of your room (and your hands, remember!) often. If you can make it through flu season without going down for the count and without spending way too many in hours without being able to get out of bed (which isn’t as good as it sounds), then consider yourself lucky.