Early-semester plague has once again taken over Maryland

Featured image by Allison O’Reilly.

The first few weeks on campus have been full of many things – new clubs, sporting events, political involvement, dog spottings, adjustments and lots of coughing and sneezing.

Sickness seems to flood the air as everyone moves into their housing near or on campus, surrounded by thousands of their peers, exchanging thoughts, ideas and germs.

“The reason for the increase is that when folks live in close quarters, germs are more easily passed,” David McBride, director of the health center said. “We all need to be mindful of cleaning our hands frequently, avoiding touching our faces as this transfers germs from hands to nose and mouth and about covering our cough when we are sick. “

The health center is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, and 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturdays and with the business of sick season, it’s suggested you make an appointment before coming in.

Even with care offered by the health center, sickness has interfered with the lives of many students.

“My social life became almost nonexistent [because I was sick] and I started to fall behind in my work because I was sleeping more than usual,” freshman journalism major Bridget Divers said. “All I wanted to do was lay around and watch Netflix.”

Class attendance also comes into question when people get sick, putting health before school is difficult when each professor has a different policy on absences.

“My roommate had to miss his 8 a.m. this morning because he was too sick to go. It makes him really agitated that being sick is interrupting his daily routine,” sophomore computer science major Peter Stirpe said.

As far as treating illness, there are options beyond treatment from the health center that might be more easily accessible.

“I didn’t go out and I slept for long periods of time,” Divers said. “I ate oranges and other fruit and took NyQuil and DayQuil.”

Preventing illness is often easier said than done, but not impossible.

“Avoid kissing and sharing glasses and utensils,” McBride said. “Cover your cough, if you’re sick, to avoid infecting others. Stay home and in bed if you have a fever to avoid infecting others. Finally, make sure immunizations, including a flu shot, are up to date!”

Even when sick season is over, living in close quarters with so many people, in an environment susceptible to over-indulgence, it’s up to everyone on their own to keep their body in good health.

“I also believe that good self-care can lessen the likelihood of getting ill,” McBride said. “We all should be sure to get enough rest, to eat a healthy and balanced diet, get regular exercise and drink alcohol in moderation.”