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Expert offers advice for winter sickness

Many students are stocking up on tissues, vitamin C and cough medicine to beat the cold and flu season, due to increased illness this time of year, according to one doctor on campus.

With finals just around the corner and stress levels inching up, more students are finding themselves coming down with cold and flu symptoms.

Dr. Anup Kanodia, a doctor of integrated medicine at the Ohio State University Medical Center, said there is an increase of illness this time of year, especially among students.

“The flu and the common cold are definitely going around,” Kanodia said. “Very good evidence supports that being stressed out means a higher likelihood of infections and colds and the flu.”

Students experiencing cold and flu symptoms can get relief if they see a doctor as soon as symptoms start.

“If they have the flu, we now have medication to give them if we can see them within the first 48 hours for flu medication, which will help them,” Kanodia said.

Students experiencing a fever, especially one above 103, should see a doctor, Kanodia said. Other symptoms of the flu can include body aches, severe and frequent headaches, fatigue and loss of appetite.

Caitlin Po, a fourth-year in biology, said she was experiencing cold-like symptoms within the last week after all five of her roommates also were sick.

“I had no voice for three or four days, and I was achy and normal cold stuff,” Po said. “I did end up going to the doctor when the cold lasted longer than five days.”

After getting antibiotics at the Wilce Student Health Center, Po said she started feeling better.

“They didn’t give me a diagnosis, but I wanted to be on the safe side with midterms and stuff,” Po said. “I wanted to nip it in the bud.”

Po’s roommate, Michelle Truby, also experienced cold and flu-like symptoms, but decided to forego the hassle of seeing a doctor in lieu of getting more rest.

“I was sick for about three weeks,” Truby said. “I tried to sleep as much as I could, and just deal with it.”

Truby, a fourth-year in psychology, said she was sick through Halloween weekend, but opted to stay in to try to get better. Though her symptoms lasted longer than her roommate’s, Truby said she didn’t fall behind in her classes.

“One day I had a fever but I went to class anyway,” Truby said.

Kanodia said that while there is no surefire way to prevent colds and the flu, there are precautions students can take to ward off the infections as well as methods of shortening the life of these ailments.

“Good amounts of sleep help, and if you can’t sleep eight to nine hours, try to take a half-hour power nap every one to two hours,” Kanodia said. “Don’t drink sugary products because that will lower the immune system, and eat less refined ‘white’ carbohydrates.”

When living in close quarters, such as a residence hall or crowded apartment, Kanodia said it can be difficult to stay healthy when one tenant falls ill.

“You can ask your roommate who is sick if they can cough into elbows instead of out loud, or if they do cough or blow their nose to wash their hands before touching things around the (dorm),” he said.

Kanodia also said not to share utensils, pencils and paper, towels, and other common household objects.

“Cold and flu virus can live on those items,” Kanodia said. “The person doesn’t have to be coughing right on you for you to get sick.”

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