Healthy College LivingWhy should I get vaccinated as an adult?

College is full of new opportunities and risks. Living in close quarters to others in a dorm, irregular sleeping habits, and changes in your diet can leave you vulnerable to diseases.

You should be vaccinated against meningitis before arriving to campus (this is required by law in many states, including Texas). Meningitis is usually caused by an infection that attacks the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. Serious types can result in brain damage or death. Dorm living makes it easier to spread meningitis through respiratory and throat secretions.

Keeping up with homework and studying is already a challenge, but adding sickness to this makes it almost impossible. If you get the flu, not only will you be miserable, but once you recover you will have to make up the work you missed while being absent from class. This can put you behind and add stress that could have been avoided.

You should get the flu shot every year. You will NOT get the flu from the vaccine. You can only get the flu from the live virus which is not in the flu vaccine. If you get sick after receiving the vaccine, it is because you had already contracted the virus prior to receiving the vaccine or shortly after. It takes about two weeks for the flu shot to be effective, so you should get vaccinated in September or October before flu season begins.

What else can I do to stay healthy?

When living at home you often have your parents to remind you to eat a balanced meal and to get enough sleep. While living away from home you do not have these constant reminders.

Get Plenty of Sleep

It is very important to get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. Lack of sleep impairs your ability to learn, retain, and process new facts. This defeats the purpose of pulling an all-nighter to cram before a test. Not getting enough sleep also suppresses immune system function. The more all-nighters you have, the more at risk you are for colds or bacterial infections because your body’s ability to fight these has been decreased.

Eat Nutritious Foods

Your diet is often changed when you begin college because of late-night eating, all-you-can-eat dining halls and lack of exercise. Freshman are more susceptible to weight gain because they are confronted with food any hour of the day and there is no one telling them what or when to eat. Also as you become an adult your metabolism changes. You need to eat nutritious foods and avoid foods that are high in fat. You should try to keep your meals on a schedule so you avoid binge eating or not eating enough.

The choices you make in college follow you though your life after you graduate. Leaning how to be healthy in college will help you incorporate these things later on and it will be easier for you to transition into your new career and life.