Published: Nov. 6, 2019

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Germs spread fast, especially on college campuses. With the arrival of cold and flu season, there are steps your student can take to stay healthy. Some of these tips may seem like common sense, but they are good reminders for all of us!

Getting vaccinated

From the flu to meningitis, encourage your student to stay up to date on their vaccinations. Year after year, the flu vaccine has been proven to be the most effective way to prevent the flu. Free flu shots are already available to all students at walk-in clinics on campus (they just need to bring their Buff OneCard). Medical Services also offers a variety of other vaccines by appointment.

Practicing good hygiene

Good hygiene is imperative when it comes to avoiding illnesses and stopping the spread of germs to others.

  • Washing our hands as often as possible is one of the best forms of defense against germs. If warm water and soap aren’t available, alcohol-based hand sanitizer is a good alternative. Your student can pick up a free travel-sized bottle at the Health Promotion Resource Center.
  • Even as we strive to wash our hands often, it is best for your student to avoid touching their nose, mouth and eyes to prevent the spread of germs.
  • When your student has to cough or sneeze, they should do so into their elbow, sleeve or a tissue and avoid using their hands. If they use their hands, they should do their best to wash them as quickly as possible or use hand-sanitizer before touching other surfaces.

Sharing is not always caring

Remind your student to avoid sharing items that can exchange saliva with others. These can include:

  • Lip balms
  • Water bottles
  • E-cigarettes or other smoking devices
  • Cups and beverages
  • Eating utensils
  • Toothbrushes

Keeping their surroundings clean

Encourage your student to do what they can to keep their living areas clean. They should regularly wipe down common objects and surfaces like doorknobs, counters, light switches and keyboards with disinfectant, especially if they or a roommate has recently been sick.

Getting enough rest

If your student finds themselves under the weather, encourage them to take it easy and stay home.

Suggest that they drink warm liquids like tea to soothe a sore throat and stay hydrated, get extra rest to let their body recover and use over-the-counter remedies as appropriate to find relief. In fact, they can pick up free cold care supplies like cough drops, tissues, tea, honey sticks and gargling salt in the Health Promotion Resource Center.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle

Everything we do, from what we eat to our stress levels, affects our immune system. Encourage your student to eat regular balanced meals, hydrate with lots of water and sleep 7-9 hours a night to help strengthen their bodies and fight off infections. Finding time for light physical activity and sunshine is also good for your student’s health.

Learn more at colorado.edu/health.