Washing power

David Houser and David Houser

When you’re shaking someone’s hand, how often do you consider when they last washed their hands?

“If you did, you might be less susceptible to disease,” said Dr. Glenn Egelman, director of the University’s student health center.

With roughly 6,400 students living on campus, germs are bound to get around the dorms and classrooms.

These germs can lead to a stomach flu, colds, strep throat, mono and pink eye – and these are just the most popular ailments.

“The easiest way the germs travel is through touch,” Egelman said.

The best defense against anything is prevention, and that is exactly what Student Health Services advocates.

Egelman said students can best prevent disease by washing their hands, not touching their eyes, nose and mouth and using alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

College students should take responsibility for themselves because parents can’t patrol the dorms to keep their 18-year-old children from getting the flu, he said.

College students are on their own and must take up that responsibility.

To help students, the University’s Wellness Connection has created a hand-washing guide and posted it in across bathrooms campus.

Meanwhile, as flu season begins, students are doing their best to stay healthy.

While freshman, Nicole Rosenthal said she “doesn’t really worry” about preventing the spread of disease, she always wash her hands and tries “to stay away from sick people.”

Her method may be relaxed, but Rosenthal said it’s helped her steer clear of ailments thus far.

Freshman Angie Burge already got a cold and after feeling “tired and out of it,” she said she’s on a mission to make sure it doesn’t happen again. To start, she said she’ll be washing her hands more often.

Sophomore, Jake Garrity recalls living in the dorms his freshman year. He got sick during flu season and had to skip class for a few days.

Garrity attributes his flu to the bathroom he shared with his roommates.

Freshman Jessica Hall said she’s been sick twice already this year. The first time, she had a cold but after she thought she’d recovered, she caught a stomach flu. She’s now more aware of the impacts of dorm life.

“When a student does get sick, as Hall and others have, it’s important that they know what to do,” Egelman said.

Student Health Services “offers a lot more than people realize,” Egelman said.

“Students and community members can get step-by-step instructions about what to do when they get sick – whether they have a cold or the West Nile virus – at www.bgsu.edu/health,” he said.

This resource also instructs students about self-examinations, immunizations and alcohol and drug safety information.

“Student Health Services, which is on Ridge Street, is a convenient place for students to go when they get sick. The health center has four doctors, a full-service lab and a pharmacy,” Egelman said.

“If you get sick,” Egelman said, “you should check out the health center’s Web site or schedule an appointment by calling 372-2271.”

For medical emergencies, Egelman said it’s best to call 911.