How to avoid getting sick this winter

Getting the flu is no fun

Falling ill during the school year is not a pleasant experience. We don’t always have on hand what we need to take care of ourselves. Fortunately, there are certainly measures that students can take to help strengthen their immune system and to hopefully avoid illness.

It is important to recognize the common symptoms of the flu or cold. Fever, body aches, chills, fatigue, general weakness, sneezing, stuffy nose, sore throat and chest congestion can be indicators of both the flu and the cold. Symptoms of the flu develop more abruptly compared to a cold, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Being aware of these symptoms is important, since you are generally contagious one day before symptoms develop, and up to a week after you are sick, according to the CDC. When you’re contagious, you should avoid work or school as best as you can, so as not to pass on your illness to others.

There are a variety of preventative measures for the flu. Getting the flu shot is a great first step toward protecting not only yourself, but others around you. Avoiding touching your mouth, nose, or eyes after touching public surfaces can also help in reducing your chance of getting infected, since surfaces like communal railings and door knobs generally collect a lot of bacteria. Washing your hands and using hand sanitizer often can reduce your chances of getting the cold or flu, according to the CDC. To prevent getting sick during the winter, fourth-year physics student, Marrissa McIntosh said, “I get my flu shot, make sure I get lots of vitamin C, and always wash my hands before I cook and eat.”

Finally, if you do catch the flu, the CDC suggests that you stay home and avoid contact with other people, unless you are seeking out medical care. While at home, it is important to stay hydrated and get lots of rest. A good resource is the New Brunswick Tele-Care line. You can call Tele-care at 811 at any time to speak to a bilingual registered nurse who can help you decide whether or not to see a doctor. This is great to avoid wasting time by waiting to see a doctor when it is not necessary. You should go to your local emergency department if you are showing emergency warning signs such as difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, pain in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness, confusion and severe or persistent vomiting. At Mt. A, the closest emergency department is in the Sackville Memorial Hospital, located at 8 Main St. and reachable by phone at 506-364-4100.

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