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Staying Healthy Through Flu Season

Having the flu isn't fun, especially when you've got a paper to write and two tests to take.

However, there are ways to prevent the virus and stay healthy. Here are a few keys to prevention from Kent Bullis, M.D. and medical director of the Ball State Health Center.

  • Get a flu vaccine. Vaccines are offered at the Health Center.
  • Wash your hands frequently during the day and especially before preparing food, eating, and being around someone who is sick. Also wash your hands after using the bathroom, blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, and touching things that may carry germs. It is best to wash for at least 15 seconds with soap and clean water. If you don't have soap and water, use a hand cleaner with alcohol.
  • Keep your hands away from your face and objects out of your mouth (i.e., don't chew on pencils, fingernails, etc.).
  • Use disposable facial tissues and not handkerchiefs.
  • Learn to sneeze in your sleeve and not your hand.
  • Get the amount of sleep you need to feel rested. Try to go to bed and wake up around the same time every day.
  • Eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables daily.
  • Make time for at least 30 minutes of exercise daily.
  • Don't drink alcohol to the point of intoxication. This severely impairs your body's immune system.
  • Don't smoke cigarettes or marijuana.
  • In social settings, try to maintain a three to four foot distance from others, especially if you have congestion or you are ill.
  • If you have the flu and a fever of over 100.5 degrees, consider carefully the pros and cons of going to class or work. If you have typical flu symptoms, like cough, fever, body aches, sinus congestion, but no alarming symptoms like shortness of breath, consider staying in. It will help you recover quicker and help prevent spreading the virus to other members of your community.
  • When you are ill, take care of yourself by drinking lots of fluids, taking Tylenol, and decongestants. If your symptoms persist for more than a couple of days, or if the symptoms worsen, contact your physician or visit the Health Center.