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10 tips for staying plague-free

According to Judith Cocking, the director of the Health Center, at least 30 EU students on Feb. 6th reported to the Health Center with a stomach virus.

This begs the question: What can we do to stay healthy in the cold winter months?

Here are ten things college kids should know to stay healthy.

1. Wash hands as much as possible. This includes before eating and before putting in contact lenses, after using the toilet and after blowing noses.

Wash your hands after touching community tools such as lounge televisions and library computers.

2. Do not share drinks, food or utensils with friends. Try to avoid close contact.

3. Cover face when coughing and sneezing. Not covering nose and mouth forces germs airborne, possibly spreading the sickness. Then, wash your hands.

4. Get a flu shot. They cost $15 at the Health Center, which still has about 20 doses left. The flu season can last until May, so it is not too late for prevention.

About 200 out of 1,100 students living on campus have received flu shots from our Health Center, according to Judith Cocking.

5. Viruses cannot be stopped with antibiotics, like Tamaflu. This antibiotic reduces the replication of the virus. Tamaflu can lessen the symptoms, but the virus will run its course.

6. Use cleaning products on doorknobs, light switches and computer keyboards, especially in the winter. Sicknesses are more common these months because students stay inside more in these closed environments.

7. RA’s have disposable thermometers and Imodium (which helps with loose stool). Do not be afraid to use them as a resource.

8. Stay out of class if you are sick. Your professors and classmates will probably thank you.

9. Use the Health Center. It is located in Doane A. If you are facing the front of Doane with the gym behind you, take the path to the right. If unable to enter the building, ring the Health Center bell and the door will be opened for you.

10. If you think you might have the flu or a stomach virus, visit the health center Web site (http://eastern.edu/centers/health_center/current_news.shtml) before calling mom. If you vomit, wait 3 hours before drinking anything. Otherwise, the symptoms may be prolonged.

SOURCES: Interview with Judith Cocking, and the Center for Disease Control Web site (www.cdc.gov).

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