Why does everyone get sick in college?

By Felicia Roehm

It seems like every college student gets sick when they start a new year. With the lack of sleep, different food and lots of stress, its normal to feel under the weather.  With only a week into the semester three of my friends and myself tested positive for COVID-19. Some of my other friends caught a cold and others’ allergies were out of control. 

An article by The Washington Post titled, “Getting sick in college: How to teach your child to cope on their own,” explains multiple reasons why students get sick so quickly in school. One reason is that students live so close to each other and they all touch the same door handles, sinks and stair rails. Students also tend to share drinks and snacks especially during study sessions. The article says, “The transition to college and all it entails — ramped-up academics, new social scene, different food, sharing a small room — is all new and stressful even if it’s exciting, and stress does a number on the immune system.” The Washington Post recommends students to wash their hands, get some sleep, try and manage stress and get all the up to date immunizations, like the flu shot. They also recommend creating a cold kit which could include Ibuprofen, Tylenol, Mucinex, Dayquil or Nyquil. 

However, we unfortunately still have to worry about COVID-19 even though it is not a public health emergency. I tested positive for COVID-19 the day before the first day of school. I got it from one of my roommates and since then, two other people in my life have tested positive for the virus. This was my second time with COVID-19, and I felt awful, but luckily in 48 hours I felt good as new. However, it’s spreading again because a new variant is active. 

 An article by northjersey.com, “As school begins in NJ, here’s how to prepare your kids for flu, RSV and COVID,” reports that there is a new COVID-19 variant called the EG.5 which is a subvariant of omicron and is nicknamed, “Eris.” The strain has been causing a rise in cases in New Jersey but severe symptoms, ventilator use and ICU admissions have remained low. Katharine Clouser, a pediatrician and the vice chair of clinical affairs for Hackensack Meridian Health said, “A new vaccine that targets omicron subvariants will likely be available this fall.” 

The article recommends getting the flu shot because last year was one of the worst flu seasons ever. Some pharmacies ran out of Ibuprofen and antibiotics. Luckily this year is looking better. The article states, “Public health experts believe the flu season will return to a more normal pattern, with the onset in October and November. Flu shots will begin rolling out in September, but doctors recommend starting to get them in mid-to-late October to last the entire season.” So, this semester, remember to take a break, rest up and try to manage the stress of it all.  

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