SUNDAY, Sept. 5 (HealthDay News) -- As college students begin to
settle into their new dorm rooms at campuses nationwide, one New
York City-based public health advocate is offering some basic
advice to help them stay healthy during the upcoming flu
Kathryn Hutchinson, executive director of health and wellness at
St. John's University, pointed out that the first thing students
should do, ideally before leaving home, is to discuss the option of
getting a flu vaccine with their parents and physician. This may
help alleviate any anxiety students have about whether or not to
get the shot.
Beyond taking that step, Hutchinson encourages students to
arrive at school armed and ready to keep their hands clean and
maintain a sanitary environment. That means stocking a supply of
soap, as well as cleaning supplies to wipe down desks, sinks,
computer keyboards and any other shared surfaces.
Frequent handwashing is a must, and hand sanitizers are useful
when washing is impractical. But, Hutchinson stressed, sharing
glassware, utensils and personal items such as toiletries (razors,
toothbrushes, combs) is definitely not a good idea.
Also, students are urged to keep a digital thermometer on hand,
and their health insurance card in case they need medical
One good way to keep from spreading germs is to practice "cough
etiquette" -- in other words cover the nose and mouth when coughing
or sneezing, throw away any used tissues immediately, and wash your
hands as soon as possible.
Overall, Hutchinson said, most students will find that the usual
recommendations -- an exercise routine, a healthy diet and adequate
sleep -- are the keys to staying healthy, as well as reducing their
stress. But if and when health problems arise, she advises students
to contact a health care professional immediately.
For more on flu prevention, visit the
U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious