opinion

COLUMN: Dorms are a dreaded destination of disease



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Teter Quad is located at 501 N. Sunrise Drive.  IDS file photo Buy Photos

From the communal bathrooms to the hundreds of people pressing the elevator buttons everyday, your health is set up for failure the very first day you step into your residence hall. 

Regardless of how many roommates you have, there is no master plan to stop the spread of germs and illnesses while living in these dorms.

These are the things that no one tells you when your parents drop you off to college on that first day. You are ready to have the time of your life while living in close quarters on a floor with more than 50 other people. 

It’s supposed to be a party every night, right? You get to be with all your friends. They’re laying right next to you, or are just one door down. No matter the time of day, there’s someone nearby who is ready to go on an adventure with you. 

While of course this is true for some people, there is no doubt that their group will eventually experience the mass destruction of flu season. There’s no escaping it in the dorms. 

It's all fun and games until the cold weather hits and suddenly one by one you watch your friends get hit with the stomach flu, pink eye, the mumps or any other contagious sickness you can think of. 

That’s when you know it's time to take shelter and go under the radar for a few days. I knew this all too well while living on the 11th floor of Eigenmann Hall last year. At one point, five of the people on my floor had the flu. 

I did what I had to do and stayed quarantined in my room until the destruction was over, only leaving to seek food, use the restroom and occasionally sneak out to class. 

However, if your roommate happens to come down with one of these illnesses, its game over for you. You can try to keep the shared items constantly cleaned, but with there only being about 30 feet between you each night, chances are you’re going to suffer too. 

The dorms that have communal bathrooms get hit worse than all of them all. Often times you will see the sick ones walk out without washing their hands, and you will witness them touch countless door knobs and appliances. There’s simply no avoiding it.

All you can do is walk fast with your head down and hope you make it to spring without getting hit with an illness, but anyone who has lived in a dorm can tell you it's highly unlikely. 

If you’ve made it this far and haven’t gotten sick yet, that is good news. There’s still hope for you. Don’t worry, spring will be upon us soon, and flu season will soon pass.  

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