By Lauren LaBrique
If there’s one opportunity this week’s weather has opened us up to, it’s voluntarily weakening our immune systems.
While you were out building a snowman with the Elsa to your Anna, you may have forgotten one very important detail that makes this winter special: The wonderland has been invaded by a strand of the flu that got by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and only 23 percent of those that received a shot outside Schaffer Library are safe.
Gone are the days when snowball fights only left you worrying about frostbite. Now, a runny nose better stop running after you move from the snow forts on the rugby pitch to the warmth of Reamer. If not, a cold can turn into vomiting, upset stomach and diarrhea faster than you can reach for the Pepto Bismol. Let’s take it back to playground days and the advice we all have ingrained somewhere in the backs of our brains about how to avoid offering ourselves up to germs like we’re a continental breakfast at the Holiday Inn.
1. Wear a jacket. Those boys walking around in shorts in a snowstorm may think they look cool, but they’re not going to feel so cool when they’re sweating over a bowl of chicken noodle soup. And you’ll be feeling like a million bucks when you’re not the annoying, sniffly kid in the back of the class … We’ve all experienced one. Don’t be that guy.
2. Don’t put things in your mouth. Midterms are here and sometimes concentrating leads to chewing on pens, headphone wires and, eventually, saltines because at this point you’ve realized the chicken noodle soup was ambitious for your acrobatic stomach.
3. Make your friend clean up his own vomit. You can win Friend of the Year spring term when the coast is clear. Until then, every man for his own bodily fluids. You don’t need that, and your body certainly doesn’t need that. Germs on germs on germs. And that is the flu, kids.
4. Sleep. Do not let Kerry Washington fast-talk you into a mid-week binge-watch of season three of “Scandal.” Her power walk will be just as inspiring at a reasonable hour. Your immune system will not be so inspiring if it’s playing catch-up on that rest you didn’t give it at 4 a.m. No matter how appealing that next episode of “Friends” or “Orange Is The New Black” may be, you must resist the urge to binge-watch everything and get some well-deserved sleep. Even if you have lots of work, your body needs at least seven hours to function at its best.
5. Run with clothes on. See number 1. Tell the Nott you will see it, and it will see you, when there’s no more ice to blame your Saturday night stumbles on. Layer. Put on your puffiest coat, thickest sweater and those hats with the little pom poms on them and you will be set. Because no one wants to get taken by surprise by the icy winds that whip around the Nott … Nott fun.
6. Hydrate. It makes prevention and recovery way easier. Plus, dehydration is the cause of 80 percent of headaches. Funnel a couple of Nalgenes every once in a while. Typically, you should try to drink two liters of water a day, which is two of those huge water bottles you can buy in Reamer. You may look a little weird carrying that giant bottle, but at least you know your body will be thanking you for it! There you have it. The rules of the winter wonderland that is currently Union, born from kindergarten playgrounds. If you break these rules, you’re probably having a lot of winter fun — enjoy it before it turns into winter flu.
It’s coming to catch you with your pants down, at which point you and the other 77 percent of people who left your pants at the Nott will have to admit regretfully, “I fought the flu, and the flu won.”
May summer come quickly for you, when, hopefully, you’ll have better luck avoiding heatstroke.