Note to self: wear a jacket

By Staff Writer Zach Lunghi.

Let’s face it, winter sucks. No one enjoys having to wait for your car to defrost at 7 AM or struggling to clear a driveway with a flimsy plastic shovel. It just isn’t the ideal situation.
Unfortunately, those aren’t even the real horrors of winter. Something far worse than that overused Game of Thrones meme is attached to this season. Yep, we’re talking about the cold and flu viruses.

With this new semester underway, we should all be cautious to avoid catching and/or spreading any possible illnesses. Luckily, Director Sheila Dorgan over at Health Services has provided for us some helpful tips to stay healthy.

First and foremost, she advised that we stay up to date on our vaccinations. If you are not vaccinated but wish to be, you can make arrangements with Health Services to have it done here on campus. According to Dorgan, they administered around three-hundred Flu shots last year and are expecting another delivery of more vaccination supplies coming soon.

Whether you’re vaccinated or not. There are steps we can take in our everyday life to help fight off viruses. These include precautions such as washing your hands, drinking a sufficient amount of water, and getting at least six hours of sleep. Dorgan is well aware of a college person’s scattered sleep schedule, so she reiterates the necessity for a good night’s rest. But let’s also add, if you’re not washing your hands regardless, that’s a little concerning.

When at home or at our dorms, it is a good idea to disinfect regularly. This includes any items that are frequently in use such as doorknobs, remotes or keyboards. When dealing with public places it is easier to just make use of a travel-sized hand sanitizer bottle. In addition, throughout campus you can find hand sanitizer stations; in case you didn’t have one. Everywhere we go we are bound to encounter some type of bacteria. Having disinfectant on hand is a great way to kill those germs and stay healthy.

Dorgan advises us to be very cautious when interacting with other people or objects in our environment. If you believe you have touched something that might have germs on it, it’s best to sanitize your hands soon after. Be especially careful when touching your eyes, mouth or nose; since these are easy locations for bacteria to enter.

If you happen to be one of the unlucky ones and find yourself with either the cold or flu; you actually might be in luck. Dorgan recommends that you stay home or at your dorm. This diminishes the chance for spreading the virus and allows your body a chance to rest. Just send your professors an email as to why you won’t be in class and then enjoy a day of watching Netflix.

Now, if you live with someone who is sick, there’s a good chance you’ve already been exposed to the virus. The best thing for you to do is to follow the previously listed precautions and attempt to distance yourself from the person who is ill. Dorgan suggests somewhere around 3ft should be a good distance.

If you live on campus and the person who is sick needs something from outside your housing, Health Services can grant you permission to use their UMass pass at any locations that accept it.

The Torch hopes that everyone stay as healthy as possible and take all precautions necessary!

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