Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
August 5, 2020

Alright freshmen, listen up. This plague that’s been going around? That’s gotta stop. I understand that there’s the whole thing about how we’ve all come from different places with different viruses and we’re spreading them around and blah blah science speak.

And that’s probably true, but it’s also because some of us seem to lack the etiquette and personal hygiene that should be common sense by now. So here are ten things you should already be doing to prevent spreading disease:

1. Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. 

Why are you not already doing this? We all breathe the same air, so just because you aren’t coughing directly into someone’s mouth, that doesn’t mean they’re not picking up on the germs.

Yes, I’m talking to you, Guy Who Sat Next to Me in Calc Lecture the other day. Cough into your elbow, too, not your hand, which brings me to my next point.

2. Be careful of what you touch. 

Communal living is kind of gross when you think about it. There are so many things that you and your roommate both touch on a daily basis, such as doorknobs, light switches, microwaves, etc. If you’re sick, try not to touch these things with your bare hands if you can help it. And if you can’t . . .

3. Wash your hands. 

A lot. Like I said, you touch a lot of things. The door to the FFC? We all touch that. That’s a lot of germs going around. Wash your hands before you eat, for sure, and definitely after you blow your nose. Just washing your hands can help prevent you from getting other people sick, and it can prevent you from getting sick in the first place.

4. Drink lots of water. 

I’m sure there is a lot of science behind why you should drink water when you’re sick, but I’m a Writing Seminars major, and this is just something my mom told me.

5. Medicine is okay. 

You can take Advil/Tylenol/Ibuprofen/your drug of choice. You can take nasal decongestants and cough drops and Alka Seltzers. That’s totally fine. You’re not a drug addict for taking a few pills. If it goes against your personal philosophies, that’s fine when you’re at home. But when you’re here and you share a living space with someone else, be respectful and try to get better faster.

6. Sleep. 

Sleeping is good. Sleeping is bae.

7. Go to HelWell. 

Yeah, it’s really far. And no, I’ve never actually been there. But I mean, figuring out how to get there in your ill state of mind is preferable to dying, so, there’s that.

8. Don’t be an idiot. 

Science shows that not being an idiot is 100 percent more effective against colds and the flu than being an idiot is. Symptoms of being an idiot include, but are not limited to: saying rude or offensive things, spitting on the ground while you’re walking and making fun of people for sitting alone in the FFC.

Okay, not doing these things won’t stop you from getting sick. But they will stop you from making sick people angry. Because when sick people get angry at you, they start to cough. A lot. And they’ll get closer and closer and closer to your face until you wonder what air was like before it was wrought with germs.

9. Take it easy. 

Don’t commit to three club meetings and an intramural soccer practice while you’re sick. Not only will you spread your illness to the participants of these extracurriculars, but you’ll also drive yourself mad. Because being sick can drive you mad. So just do yourself and everyone else a favor and just rest for a while.

10. If you’re really sick, stay home. 

Your health is more important than your studies, so if you’re really ill, don’t go to class. You probably need the rest, and nobody else really wants you in class if you’re that sick anyway.

There you go. Those are my 10 best tips for how not to spread sickness. I don’t know why you are not already doing these things, but hopefully this will help you.

The next time you sneeze without covering your mouth, just remember the consequences of your actions. Cover your mouth, and help stop the freshman plague of 2014.

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