Preparing for the holidays: a health and wellness perspective

by Kristiana Holmes, M.S.N., A.R.N.P.

kristiana holmesAs we come to that time of year when many festivities abound, students may travel home to visit family and friends.  Not only do students travel, but germs travel too.  As our students visit outside of campus, they can expose others to viral and bacterial infections like colds or the flu.  Students can also be exposed to these illnesses through contact with family and friends.

In order for the holiday season to be as healthy as possible, there are a few tips that will help our students and their loved ones enjoy the season illness-free.

  • Get a flu shot.
  • Wash hands with soap and water frequently, especially after contact with someone who may be ill.
  • Don’t share food, beverages, utensils, or glasses.
  • Cough and sneeze into a tissue or your elbow—not your hand.
  • Throw soiled tissues away
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wipe down surfaces and objects to disinfect when someone is ill.
  • Wash hands after blowing your nose or wiping your eyes.
  • Avoid contact with family and friends who are ill.

What if your student does become ill when they are at home?  When do they need to seek care from a healthcare provider?

  • Persistent temperature higher than 100.4° F
  • Symptoms that last more than 10 days
  • Symptoms that are severe or persistent
  • When there are chronic health conditions such as:
    • Asthma
    • Heart Disease
    • Diabetes
    • Neuromuscular Disease
    • Kidney, Liver or Blood Disease

Preventing illness transmission when students are home also prevents students from spreading colds and the flu to other students upon their return to campus.  Please help your student to have a safe and healthy holiday season and return to campus without any unwanted travelers!

For more information, visit the Center for Disease Control website at http://www.cdc.gov/getsmart/antibiotic-use/URI/colds.html and http://www.cdc.gov/flu/keyfacts.htm.

Kristiana Holmes, M.S.N., A.R.N.P., serves as the Director of the Health Center, which is located in Schumacher Hall.

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