Avoiding sickness as the cold weather approaches

FAMU Student Health Services offers free flu shots. Photo by Vanessa Lawrence

As football season is ends, cold and flu season  begins. Students do bare more viruses as the colder months approach so it’s important to keep yourself protected.

“We definitely have a cold and flu season, students do bare more viruses going around and we share them through coughing, and through touching, and everything else so we have more students that do get ill during the winter months,” said Tanya Tatum director of Student Health Services at Florida A&M.

Although colds and the flu have a lot in common, knowing the difference between the two is essential.

“The cold you can kind of work through. We do ask that if you do go out that you don’t cough and sneeze all over everybody, you don’t cough in your hand and then touch the doorknob and things like that, but if you have the flu we do ask that you stay home until your fever is gone and you get the rest that you need so you can recover well,” Tatum said.

Understanding the difference between the two can be a matter of life and death.

“While people don’t die from a cold, people do die from the flu,” said Tatum.

The flu can be much more serious and can lead to other complicating conditions so student health services treats it a lot more serious.

Another way to protect yourself from the flu and stop its spread is getting a flu shot, also known as the flu vaccine. This vaccine target many types of flu viruses that are most likely to make you sick.

Tatum says there are ways you can prevent yourself from getting sick. Dress for the weather. When you first feel initial symptoms of a cold like that tickle in your throat pay attention to it. Take care of yourself, make sure you’re getting plenty of rest, always increase your vitamin C, and if you do feel yourself getting ill, go get it checked out to make sure it’s nothing more serious.

One of the biggest ways to reduce the transmission of cold and flu virus is by constant hand washing and keeping hand sanitizers close by.

Graduate student Olayiwola Popoola has a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy and is currently pursuing his master’s degree in pharmaceutical sciences.

“My background in clinical experience makes me take a lot of precaution,” said Popoola.

He keeps hand sanitizer in his car for easy access. He also tries to stay protected by wearing protective gear such as hats and sweatshirts.

Popoola says it’s very important to watch out for the signs and symptoms so you can stay clear of someone who may have a cold or the flu.

“It’s not like there’s a label on somebody’s head that has cold,” said Popoola.

By doing your part to keep yourself protected, the risk of spreading a virus is reduced tremendously.