College is great, but when you cram a bunch of students together in dorms, apartments, and classrooms all the time, it also makes it a haven for sickness. Sometimes you need to buy into your mom’s paranoia and make sure you’re keeping an eye out for signs of an illness. Here are some illnesses that you should be able to spot before it’s too late.
Yes, seriously. Your 20s are the prime time for intoxicated hookups and booty calls. And drunken dudes aren’t normally considering condoms as their first priority. Try to make sure you’re using condoms all the time as this is the best way to prevent both pregnancy and infections.
You’re the one that knows your body best, so if there’s something strange going on don’t ignore it. Go and get an STI test right away and don’t have any sexual contact until you know what’s going on. Itching and burning are two of the most common symptoms, but you should still get tested if you’ve had unprotected sex with someone who you haven’t discussed STIs with. One of the most prominent ones is HPV, which can have little to no recognizable symptoms.
2. The Flu
The flu is one of the most insanely contagious sicknesses – which makes it run rampant on college campuses when you’re constantly up close and personal with people. It can start with the symptoms of a cold, but usually evolves to include a fever, vomiting, and diarrhea. It also can seriously impact your ability to do everyday tasks, let alone that five-page paper you have due next week. Having the flu in the middle of the semester can seriously debilitate you.
Most of us might dismiss the flu shot that our parents get every year, but it’s really the best way of preventing it. It’s insurance to make sure you don’t miss a bunch of school work – or partying.
3. Meningococcal Meningitis
This meningitis caused by a bacterial infection is not something to mess around with. It inflames the areas around the spinal cord and brain, and can lead to death if it isn’t treated. Even survivors can end up with some serious consequences, like brain disease.
The most common symptoms are headaches, fever, and stiffness in the neck. It can be passed from person to person by contact with fluids, like when you kiss someone or if someone sneezes on you.
There is a vaccine that can help prevent it, and some colleges now require that students get it before they’re able to start classes. It can be treated with antibiotics too, but why take the risk of actually getting it?
4. Strep Throat
This is another sickness that can be spread by saliva, coughing, or sneezing. And unlike others, this one doesn’t really have a definite preventer like a vaccine. It mostly causes severe pain whenever you swallow – which is bad enough, really – but it can also cause your body to ache, fevers, or nausea. Not fun.
It can be cured with hot tea, throat lozenges, and antibiotics from a doctor. Like the flu, it’s one that you need to avoid going to class with since it’s very easily spread.
If you want your college experience to continue to be awesome, keep an eye out for these illnesses. One of these bad boys can wipe you out for a good couple of weeks and that’s something no one wants.
Featured Image Via Jaci Marie Photo