Your kid is headed to college for the first time this month, and he or she won’t have the benefit of your daily reminders to eat healthy and go to sleep at a reasonable hour. Not to mention: college dormitories can be ground zero for the common cold and flu, given the close proximity that students are living in and the tendency of teens on their own for the first time to avoid cleaning.
There are, however, some preventive measures that college students can take to avoid getting sick. Getting them to actually follow this advice is the more challenging part. But some subtle hints about missing too much class or too many parties (whichever worries them more) while they’re stuck in their rooms with signs of a cold that might get them to listen up.
Here are some tips you can suggest to your child for fighting off a cold when the immune system is under siege:
- Wash your hands regularly, and use hand sanitizer. And be sure to disinfect gym equipment before you use it. It’s also a smart idea to periodically disinfect objects in your room or suite that lots of hands pass over, such as doorknobs, light switches and remote controls.
- Don’t share towels, cups or utensils. And try to use your own pens. But, of course, don’t be too rigid about it. You don’t want to be the person who turns someone down when they ask to borrow a pen or pencil because you’re worried about them harboring cold germs.
- Get a flu shot. Just do it. And when you feel a cold coming on, take advantage of campus health services. They can help you treat a cold more quickly, making you less infectious to other students.
- Don’t leave your toothbrush out in a communal bathroom. Those places are breeding grounds for bacteria. Keep your toothbrush in your room.
- Drink plenty of water. You need to offset all that coffee and beer you might be consuming. A Nalgene full of water in your satchel or backpack as you go through your day and sip from is essential to stay hydrated.
- If you can, make yourself scarce when your roommate gets sick. Stay with a friend for a couple of nights. Or, if you live close to your parents, you can always go home. It may not be your ideal situation, but it’s preferable to sleeping in a 90-square-foot room with someone who’s sneezing and coughing all night.
If your child does get a cold, Cold-EEZE can shorten it. A sick day care package from mom and dad never goes unappreciated!