‘Tis the season for staying healthy

As the weather changes and sickness spreads, learn how to stay healthy this holiday season

It’s a chilly winter day, and you wake up to a familiar tingle at the back of your throat. Before you know it, you’ve gone through an entire tissue box and it’s time to go on another CVS run for more medicine.

This time of the year is notorious for spreading viruses from one dorm building to the next, wreaking havoc on students’ schedules and extracurricular activities. Just as homework loads are increasing and end-of-the-semester projects are being assigned, illness strikes, leading to an increase in empty seats in classes.

Clara Holson, a first-year intended finance major, is no stranger to this feeling. She started feeling ill and took a COVID-19 test provided by Health Services to confirm her suspicions. When it came back positive, Holson knew her quarantine period would be difficult with her course load.

“I had an extremely bad case of COVID and struggled to get out of bed for basic tasks,” Holson said. “For 5 days, including the weekend, I couldn’t do any work, which put me far behind.”

Holson received support throughout the duration of her illness. Her friends left her food outside of her door, and the office of the Dean of Students helped her to communicate to her professors about missing deadlines. She recommends that students in her situation should get tested as soon as possible.
“Definitely get a COVID test if you feel symptoms related to the virus, it’s free at the health center. I’d suggest going home or staying in a place you feel comfortable while sick. It will make the experience more bearable,” Holson said.

Maddie Mueller, a first-year engineering major, is on Trinity’s women’s basketball team and has learned to listen to her body when it needs to take a break. As an athlete, she always stretches before practice to prevent injuries but also tries to prevent sickness as much as possible.

“When I’m feeling sick, I always try to get extra sleep so I can give my body time to recover,” Mueller said.

Whether one is an athlete or not, students don’t have to face illness alone when they are feeling under the weather. Dr. John Meyer, nurse practitioner and the coordinator of health services, notices a lot of the same symptoms and illnesses during this season.

“By far our most common illness seen in the clinic is respiratory viral infections,” Meyer said. “These include the viruses that cause a sore throat too. Many of these respiratory viruses circulate at a higher level during fall and winter here on campus.”

Trinity offers many resources for students who are feeling ill on campus. Most of the resources are free to Trinity students and can offer some peace of mind about how you are feeling. Dr. Meyer recommends resources like TigerCare Live, the free telehealth service, and visiting Student Health Services in person in Myrtle Residence Hall. Information about these resources can be found on Trinity’s Health Services web page.

While there are many precautions one can take to prevent getting sick, like getting the proper vaccines and washing your hands, sometimes it’s still hard to prevent sickness from going around. However, by knowing what to do when sickness strikes and creating healthy habits when well, the time one spends bedridden may be diminished.

“Staying well doesn’t necessarily mean not getting sick,” Meyer said. “Catching colds is somewhat inevitable. But if you are healthy overall, the impact of a respiratory virus infection on a student’s life will likely be less.”

On a small campus like Trinity’s, illnesses can rapidly spread through the student population. Once a roommate or a classmate catches a virus, it can spread like wildfire throughout the campus. However, being aware of symptoms to watch out for and taking care of oneself by staying active, eating healthy and giving oneself time for self-care can help stop illnesses in their tracks and prevent the spread.