Close campus confinement causes illness

Story by Logan Brettell

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Tests, textbooks and … cough drops?

At the same time that Baker University freshmen are enjoying the new freedom and luxuries of college, many are also battling headaches, nasal congestion, runny noses and frequent attacks of sneezing.

Plenty of students, especially freshmen, have made recent visits to the Student Health Center for diagnosis’ and antibiotics in order to improve or eliminate their cold-like symptoms.

Freshman Jace Hale from Waynesville, Missouri, has been dealing with multiple cold-like illnesses since he moved in to Gessner Hall.

“I think adjusting to the new environment and dealing with stress was really why I kept getting sick,” Hale said. “I’ve been constantly dealing with minor sicknesses and so have many of my friends, including my roommate.”

Hale added that he thought a lack of sleep and unhealthy eating habits may have also been a significant cause.

Freshman student-athlete JT Tucker has also experienced similar sicknesses throughout his time at Baker University.

“Since I’ve been here I think I’ve been sick at least four different times,” Tucker said. “When I stay up too late or don’t take care of my body well enough, often times I wake up with headaches, a fever, and a runny nose.”

Both Hale and Tucker said that most of their friends and roommates had also experienced similar illnesses.

“Most of the people in my classes have missed a couple days since school started because they were sick,” Tucker said. “I think there must be something going around or people are still adjusting to a new living atmosphere.”

Baker University Nurse Practitioner Jody Mitchell said many students have visited her office during this first semester.

“There have been quite a few students that have been experiencing colds throughout the semester,” Mitchell said. “But it’s not uncommon for college students to contract more illnesses than the average person.”

Mitchell said college students are more susceptible to illnesses because of their close living quarters and usual lack of sleep during the first few months of college.

In order to counteract their susceptibility to illness, Mitchell recommends eating right, getting enough sleep each night and practicing good hygiene.

“Doing the right things each day should keep students away from illness during the school year,” Mitchell said. “I don’t expect as many students to keep getting sick in the future.”

Although students like Hale and Tucker have been consistently dealing with cold-like symptoms since they arrived at Baker, they don’t think it will continue much longer.

“I feel like after we really get comfortable living here it won’t be as much of an issue,” Hale said. “We just need to establish ourselves on campus a little bit more and really get ahold of this college deal.”

Mitchell also said that even though there has been evidence of a flu virus that could affect campus, now that the first two months of school are over, the rate of sicknesses will probably begin to slow down soon.