How to: Fight against germs in residence halls


Collegian graphic by Hollie Leggett

Jacob Boyko, Reporter

As the colder months sweep over Brookings, students living in jam-packed residence halls have found themselves sniffling victims of seasonally prevalent winter illnesses.

If there is one thing that everyone can agree on, it is having a strong distaste toward the germs of coughing and sneezing friends and coworkers.

Much to the frustration of SDSU freshman Maddie Gerry, the winter sickness season continues to drag on.

“I’ve been sick a lot this year,” Gerry said. “I’ve felt awful for the last two months and have been coughing constantly. It just won’t go away.”

But college life doesn’t stop and wait for you when you’re sick.

Gerry has taken preemptive actions throughout her room to protect her roommate and friends from her sickness so she can do her best to continue her normal schedule: go to class, do homework and hang out with friends.

“I Clorox everything,” Gerry said about her room in Young Hall. “I clean my desk, door-knobs, microwave handle—really anything that may be contaminated with germs from me or from the outside too.”

Gerry suspects she caught the bug from somewhere in her residence hall or dining area.

“Some places here aren’t very clean,” Gerry said. “Almost everyone I know has been sick this year.”

She expressed concern about dirty railings in the fire escapes, communal toilets and showers and even the spoons students use to serve themselves at Larson’s Commons.

Shelbie Keith, a registered nurse at the Brookings Hospital, has been at the forefront of the season of sickness. She explained that while there are several bugs spreading this time of year, there’s one everyone should be on the lookout for.

“Influenza is probably the biggest one this year,” Keith said. “And while it affects mostly those who are old and young, everyone is at risk of catching it.”

According to Keith, one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect yourself is by eating responsibly. “Make sure you’re eating a healthy, well balanced diet. And push plenty of fluids,” Keith said.

Keith stressed that if you are feeling sick, you should consider staying in your room that day to keep other people healthy—especially if you have a fever.

Keith offered more advice to college students living in residence halls.

“Practice good hygiene and always cover your cough to protect your roommates,” Keith said. “And stay up to date on your immunization.”

The flu shot however, isn’t guaranteed to prevent you from getting the flu. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the effectiveness rate of the shot for 18 to 49-year-olds is estimated to be 36%.

The flu shot is available at the Avera Clinic on 22nd Avenue in Brookings.