The flu and cold season has hit Knoxville hard this year, with Knox County Schools closing schools until Thursday due to illness. However, UT remains open as students, faculty and staff continue their daily routines in the midst of the closing.

So, in order to stay active and avoiding coming down with anything, here are a few tips on how to avoid getting sick and in the unfortunate event that you or your friends get sick, here are more tips on how to feel better.

How to avoid getting sick

One of the first things to help preventing getting sick is to make sure to carry hand sanitizer with you and washing your hands often. In addition to washing your hands, make sure to wash your dishes immediately instead of letting them sit in the sink.

If you live in a dorm, invest in some Clorox wipes and take a few minutes each day to wipe down all surfaces in the room, especially ones that are used often like door handles, microwave doors, the sink area and anything that you touch on a regular basis including your cell phone.

Get ahead of the curve by taking plenty of vitamins and making sure you are keeping your immune system strong. Make sure you have a regular eating schedule and are eating healthy foods that boost your immune system. Grab some fruits for breakfast and help yourself to an extra portion of vegetables for lunch and dinner.

Along with eating well, make sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Coffee and energy drinks are great and all, but water helps to flush out your body of impurities.

Make sure to get plenty of sleep and to take time to de-stress. Your body needs sleep to help keep every immunization working well. Lack of sleep and stress can be one of the top reasons why people get sick, so make a sleep schedule so you get at least eight hours of sleep and stick to it.

It’s never too late to get your flu shot! Along with taking vitamins, going to get your flu shot is an extra precaution for avoiding getting sick. You can either go to the Student Health Center, Walgreens or CVS to get a flu shot. If you go to the Student Health Center and you don’t have insurance it’s $30. CVS charges anywhere from between $22 to $66.99 and Walgreens charges $39.99.

Tis’ the season when sharing is not caring. So, don’t share anything you’d put in your mouth with friends like water bottles, vape pens and food.

What to do if you do get sick

Sleep! My parents always said that the best medicine for when you are sick is sleep and they are definitely right. Sleeping allows your body to focus on fighting whatever virus your body has picked up and help regenerate your energy. Take a day off from classes and work just to sleep. It’ll help in the long run.

Herbal teas are another great way of helping to pull through sickness. They have lots of antioxidants that are great for making you feel better. Try making some ginger tea with honey and lemon to help for nausea, mint also helps calm your stomach and green tea gives you some energy while also providing antioxidants. If you aren’t a big tea drinker, try some ginger ale for a queasy stomach.

Stay up to date with what you have to do. Even though you may feel really bad, keeping up with assignments can help prevent you from losing track and stressing out once you are feeling better. Try doing homework in small increments between waking up.

Quarantine yourself from others, to keep them from getting the sickness and to keep you from getting something else.

Helping friends who are sick

Bring them soup. Be the mom of the group and bring your friend some soup or crackers or even other warm foods so that they are getting the nutrients they need to get better.

Give them space. If you know that your friends or roommates are sick, don’t constantly message them or insist on coming over to hang out, instead, let them be able to rest and sleep.

If you live with them, clean up the common spaces and make sure to disinfect the area so you can prevent yourself from getting sick. It also helps your friends and roommates out since their immune system is focused on fighting the virus already inside them.

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