Delivering crackers to your roommate who has been throwing up? Sitting in a lecture hall with a coughing classmate? Wondering why you’re under pressure to get a flu shot? College living offers frequent reminders that sometimes it’s not cool to go viral.
Given the intensity and pace of a school semester, getting sick can leave its mark—and not a good one. In a 2017 survey of more than 26,000 undergraduates, 15 percent said that having a cold, flu, or sore throat in the last 12 months had hurt them academically (e.g., a lower grade for an exam or course, according to the National College Health Assessment). That’s in addition to the serious health complications that can sometimes arise from commonplace illnesses, even in otherwise healthy people.
Most of us think we know how to avoid common infections, or at least minimize our chances of catching that cold or stomach bug. Even so, at Student Health 101, we learned a few things developing this quiz, and we figure you’ll learn a few things taking it.
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Tim Lahey, MD, associate professor of medicine and associate professor of microbiology and immunology, Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth College, New Hampshire.
Paul Offit, MD, professor of vaccinology and professor of pediatrics, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
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