Steering Clear of Illness

Flu season is October to FebruaryNewswise — The regular flu season in Canada makes hundreds of thousands of people ill and kills 3,000 to 4,000 people each year. Avoid the flu, (and mononucleosis, strep sore throat, the common cold, and a lot more) by washing your hands after touching handrails, doorknobs, taps, gym equipment, blowing your nose and using the bathroom – and always before you touch food or contact lenses. Get your flu shot, free at most campus health centres, your doctor’s office or through public health clinics.

Get enough sleepLack of sleep weakens your immune system and makes you more susceptible to illness. Aim for a consistent six to eight hours of sleep every night.

Stay informedBe on the lookout for where you can go to get up-to-date information about circulating illnesses.

Preparing and storing your lunch• Remember that food poisoning bugs are usually undetectable.Keep cold cuts, leftover meats, potato/egg salads, cooked rice, COLD (in the fridge) unless you will eat them in two to three hours.• Don’t store leftover acid foods in an open metal can (e.g. fruit salad or tomatoes): the metal leaches into the food – have a look at the mark inside. See for yourself!• NEVER eat rare or raw hamburger meat; it usually contains very large numbers of bacteria including E. coli. Play it safe -- cook hamburger meat until it’s well done.

Sensible and safer sex• Protect yourself and your partner with condoms! Some sexually-transmitted diseases are actually coming back – and some are resistant to antibiotics. HIV/AIDS is still very much with us!• Be aware of your body! If you notice anything not quite normal, get to your campus clinic for a checkup.

If You Feel Ill

• Practice social distancing: • Cancel or postpone face-to-face get-togethers, if possible;• Use telephone/email more often;• Stay in your room as much as possible if you are not feeling well;• Try accessing your library online and getting class notes either online or via email;• Try to stay about three feet from classmates and roommates if you are coughing or sneezing.

• Contact your health-care provider, campus health centre, or TeleHealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000.

In Your Residence Room

• Buy a closed-lid garbage can to contain used tissues and other germ-filled items.• It doesn’t hurt to clean common areas like countertops, tables and kitchens as well as shared devices such as computer keyboards, phones and remote controls, etc. to help stop the spread of pathogens.• Buy colour-coded cups so you don’t share bugs.• Wear flip flops in the shower and if you have a plantar wart (on the sole of the foot) get it treated before everyone in the residence gets one!

Proper Hand Washing Method

Proper hand washing is the easiest way to avoid the flu. Are you doing it right? Follow our step-by-step instructions below to get rid of flu germs.1. Wet hands with warm running water;2. Rub hands together, soap and lather well;3. Weave fingers and thumbs together;4. Concentrate in knuckles, palms and under nails;5. Rinse and let soap/water flow from wrists to fingers;6. Dry with clean towel and turn off taps with towel.

For more back-to-school tips from Ryerson University, visit: