Beating the Finals Flu

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Sidney Li
Sign showing Flu season ahead

College brings a plethora of emotions and foreign experiences. For many people, it is the first time they are away from home, responsible for their own schedule, and even, in some cases, cooking for themselves. Every college student has their own unique opinions and experiences, but we can all agree on one subject that brings dread to us all—finals.

Despite how much stress and anxiety comes around the week or even two weeks of finals, college students often lose sight of their priorities and focus on their studying, final projects, and papers, instead of their health. As their physical, mental, and emotional health rapidly declines, students are bound to experience the “finals flu.”

What is the “finals flu”?

First of all, the “finals flu” isn’t always the actual flu. You will know if you have influenza because its symptoms range from pains and aches to a fever and more. The “finals flu” can just be any number of illnesses that are bound to spread throughout a college campus near the end of the semester. Despite how it can be more prevalent for the incoming class of freshmen and how they underestimate the toll finals week has, every student is susceptible.

Why does it happen?

Just like any other sickness, the flu or a cold can spread around at a faster rate when people live or inhabit an area in close proximity, like a library, classroom, dorm, or dining hall. Even with the current environment of increased hygiene and social distancing requirements, students are open to getting in contact with foreign pathogens that their bodies cannot handle. Students who get sick and don’t take care of themselves well with the proper hygiene and medications can easily spread illnesses to others.

How to avoid it?

Everyone is bound to get in contact with a pathogen at least once in their college career. It would be impossible to avoid them all. However, there are various tips that a student can utilize to decrease their chances. Some of them include getting a flu shot, sleeping the recommended six to eight hours, eating sensibly, exercising regularly, managing stress, and maintaining a practical personal hygiene and social distance from others.

What happens if one gets it?

If you get the “finals flu”, take steps to control its symptoms until it is gone. If you are experiencing COVID-like symptoms it’s important to get tested right away to rule it out. Stay hydrated to avoid dehydration or else your body can’t function properly. Also, use over-the-counter medications with anti-inflammatory properties that will curb the stuffiness, aches, and pains. Lozenges with honey or lemon can soothe your throat and limit the coughing and soreness. Yet, most importantly, sleep and eating plenty of food with some nutritional value will provide the most benefit.

What if the “finals flu” sticks around?

The “finals flu” can be persistent because of the circumstance and timing of it. However, if you find that your illness has not changed drastically or is still tenacious after about a week to ten days, then it is advised that students should check back with their student health services or a local doctor. This simply could be a different strain of illness and needs medical attention.

Students who let themselves get run down as the end of the semester draws near can be more susceptible to illness. Take care of yourselves properly on a day-to-day basis by getting enough sleep, managing stress, and eating a balanced diet. Practice good hand-washing habits, wear a mask when out and about, and maintain social distancing. If you do get sick, take the right measures to recuperate quickly and avoid infecting others. You will know what to do or not do when the next semester finals start rolling around!


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