Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Cover your mouth and wash your hands

Quit coughing on me.

I’m so serious. Within the past month, it seems as though a very lofty percentage of our campus community has come down with some kind of sickness. And regardless of whether it is of the seasonal or swine variety, all of it needs to end.

Don’t look at my column like that. Believe it or not, mommy wasn’t lying all those years. There are a lot of measures students can take to avoid getting sick, or if a student is sick, to speed up the recovery process for all our sakes.

Here is my first proposition. Today, Monday, Nov. 16, there will be seasonal flu shots being given in the University of Massachusetts’ Campus Center auditorium by Maxim Health Systems. Shots are being administered from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and no appointment is necessary. Perhaps the only snag would be that it costs 30 dollars, but many students’ health insurance companies will cover it.

Don’t like needles? No one cares. Suck it up and use it as an excuse to make that boy you like hold your hand. A shot is very brief pain in comparison to the agony of waking up with a face full of flu for a week. Plus, this is the third clinic Maxim has held at UMass this semester, and no one has died yet from the treatment. You’ll be okay.

My second proposition is that students start looking at their diets. According to, it has been scientifically accepted that Vitamin C, which can be found in most fruits and vegetables, boosts immune system function and can help lessen the harshness of illness.

So today, after you eat an orange or eight while you sit patiently in the campus center auditorium waiting to get your walk-in flu shot, stop by every other bathroom in your sight and wash your hands. At the very least, use one of the dozens of anti-bacterial soap dispensers on your way from class to class. Use common sense before meals. If you’re putting food in your mouth, you probably want to have clean hands so that you don’t also put the flu in your mouth. And if the flu is around, fluids are always a good idea.

Disease is lurking on doorknobs and desks, and I’m of the opinion that it floats idly in the air until an unsuspecting student walks through and it enters his or her orifices. I’m really not sure if germs are capable of floating, but it doesn’t matter. Sickly people are spreading their sick everywhere. Use soap to protect yourself.

If this attempt at preventing illness from hitting you means nothing because, oh yeah, you’re already sick, then hear me out on this. Stay the heck away from everyone until you’re better.

On Oct. 27, Dr. Jean Kim, the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Campus Life, sent out a memo to UMass students stating, “In order to maintain a healthy campus during this challenging flu season, we are urging you to take care of yourself, and to protect other members of the campus community by staying home if you are sick.”

The University is making it easy for you to stay home, too. Acknowledging that students are here to learn and desire grades reflective of their efforts, the University has asked professors to create leniency in attendance policies to accommodate students who are staying home sick. Students are not even required to provide a note from a health care professional citing they are too sick to attend classes, but rather, professors are expected to believe students out of good faith.

Additionally, dining services has been allowing students to take wicked sweet packages of food to their sick friends, to both help the sickly get healthier with a nutritious care package and prevent that person from infecting others in the dining halls.

If you’re a big ole’ Mr. Gullible, then you probably believe that if a certain percentage of our campus gets the flu, the University gets shut down. The University has no intentions of waiting for some hot spike in the sickly to shut down the semester. It is far more likely, given that we live in New England that a snowstorm or even a heat wave shut the school down, than of an entire body of students getting a collective “physical health day.” Besides, as suggested above, the University is pretty much giving students free “get well soon without penalty” days.

The point is, in the past three weeks, I’ve been coughed on about a hundred times. For a few days during each of these three weeks, I have either had a fever or a cold or some combination of the two, which screams I had the flu. For those of us with weaker immune systems, I am speaking out. I’m not playing the survival of the fittest game, because I already know I’ll lose. I want other people to play the, “I’m not an inconsiderate jerk who runs around coughing and sneezing my nastiness into innocent faces,” game.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a stranger or my best friend: If you’re sick, you’re getting temporarily shunned. Get well soon.

Alyssa Creamer is a Collegian columnist. She can be reached at [email protected].

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