Home CommentaryEditorial Stop being a biological weapon and stay home when you’re sick

Stop being a biological weapon and stay home when you’re sick

by The Concordian February 9, 2016

This cold and flu season, please don’t go to class (we’re begging you)

You’re on the metro heading to class. Midterms are coming up and you haven’t been averaging the recommended sleep hours, but coffee exists so you persist.

Suddenly the old man standing way too close to you lets loose a phlegmy whooping cough, right into his hand. He then proceeds to place said hand right back on the pole he was holding on to for support—the exact same pole which you just so happen to be holding.

Quick. When was the last time you washed your hands? Have you touched your face during your morning commute? If you have, you might as well have frenched the old man, scraggly grey nose hairs and all.

It’s cold and flu season again, and students are doing a really poor job at protecting themselves. Actually, life in general is doing a really poor job at protecting your immune system.

For starters, it’s midterm season so students are sleeping less, are more stressed, and are likely letting their healthy diet and exercise regime slip—all of which weaken their immune systems. Second, it’s nasty weather out. And while snow hasn’t been proven to weaken your immune system, huddling on busses and metros and other commuter areas close to infected people does increase your chances of catching something.

Finally, stressed-out students are hauling their sick asses out of bed to get to their important classes, thereby infecting everyone around them with the virus they have been so successfully incubating.

So let’s take a moment to step back and review how not to engage in biological warfare and keep ourselves and everyone around us protected.

Step one, according to the Government of Canada, is to get the flu vaccination. It cannot under any circumstances give you the flu or autism. If you got the vaccine already, hats off to you. Now on to step two.

Wash your hands. It seems simple, so why are there endless people who do not wash their hands, or trickle some water on their fingertips and call it a day? The Hand Hygiene page for the Government of Canada calls for lathering your hands (lather, as in with soap, not to spritz or trickle or moisten—lather) and turning the tap off with a paper towel. This reduces your hand contact with the dirty surface you were just touching with your dirty hands.

You should always wash your hands before and after you handle food, and immediately after you blow your nose or sneeze into your hands.

Remember that when you sneeze, cough, or talk even you throw tiny droplets into the air with the flu virus in them. So touching your face or snot means your hands have the flu virus on them (if you are sick) and that sneezing into your hand and then touching any surface is as good as licking the face of whoever touches that surface next.

Sure, Valentine’s Day is coming up but there’s got to be a better way at reintroducing the romance than that.

Which brings us to the third most important virus protection and prevention system: the dab. Otherwise known as sneezing and coughing into the crook of your arm. It’s the easiest way to protect those around you, so why do so few people do it?

Mayhaps they really just enjoy spreading their misery—literally—to those around them.

It’s a barbaric and heinous way of approaching disease control, especially when you study cultures such as Japan, where cultural respect is much more important than in Quebec. In Japan, and many other Asian cultures, if a person has a cold they will wear a surgical mask to ensure they do not spread their virus to you, which is an extremely kind and polite act if you think about it.

It’s a lesson Concordians should internalize. Get the flu shot, wash your hands properly, and dab when you need to sneeze and cough. Have some respect for those around you, and stop being a biological terrorist.

Finally, remember to stay home and rest when you are sick. Your body needs all the energy and rest and fluids it can get, according to handouts from Concordia Health Services. So stay home, recover, and head back to class when you’re better. Your body, and the entire student body, will thank you.

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