Fanshawe students grapple with sickness

Header image for the article Fanshawe students grapple with sickness Credit: LAM LE
Wash your hands often and get plenty of rest to avoid getting a first-term cold.

A new school year on campus means learning new things, making new friends, and — for many students — getting sick.

To those who have avoided contracting this year’s annual campus disease: Congratulations, you’ve narrowly escaped the first-term plague. To the rest, Interrobang extends its sincerest sympathies. We asked students on the Fanshawe First Year 2019/2020 Facebook group how they’ve been doing health-wise. Here’s what some of you had to say (some comments have been edited for clarity):

“I missed a whole week due to being bedridden with a stomach bug.” — Mirisah May (doula training) “I’m not actually sick. Many people around me are. I took precautions as soon as I arrived in Canada. I did show a few symptoms of cold, but multivitamins, exercise and some time out in the sun every day took care of it.” — Fredon Rodrigues (research and evaluation)

“I just missed my class today because I got sick due to cold and sudden weather change.” — Simarpreet Kaur (broadcast journalism- television news)

“I just think it’s the common cold, but I’ve had the worst dry cough and have been so stuffed up for the last two weeks. Sometimes I wake up with no voice, I’m not sure about the other students in the class but I know a few have been feeling gross too. I’m too scared to miss class so I just power through.” — Megan Minielly (child and youth worker)

“Missed a whole week due to a sinus infection. [I took] vitamins and tons of Advil and NyQuil.” — John McClay (graphic design)

Having seen start-of-term sickness take its victims year after year, Interrobang reached out to Mary Lou Albanese, manager of the infectious control team at the Middlesex London Health Unit (MLHU) for advice.

Albanese explained how places like colleges and universities are prime environments for respiratory germs, bacteria and viruses to spread.

“People are sneezing and coughing, then [germs] are in the air or they land on tables, chairs, doorknobs. Then people would either breathe them in or if you touch an area that has been just recently sprayed [and] touch your face, then you’ve just introduced the germ or the bacteria to your own body,” Albanese said.

The best way to prevent getting sick is by maintaining good hand hygiene. Wash your hands at every opportunity, and if you can’t use hand sanitizer. If you need to sneeze or cough, be sure to do so into your sleeve so you don’t spread your bacteria into the air for others to inhale.

Another useful measure is to simply keep your distance from those who are visibly ill.

Albanese added that college life makes students especially vulnerable to getting sick with ailments like the common cold.

“The other thing with colleges and universities where students are very stressed and they’ve got a heavy workload is to always remember healthy eating, fruits and vegetables and getting sufficient sleep, because that is encouraging your own body to build and maintain a strong immune system,” she said.

Albanese also encouraged students to get the flu vaccine once it becomes available, so that school stress doesn’t further deplete their immunities.

If you are feeling rundown, consider visiting the Fowler Kennedy Sport Medicine Clinic, located in Wellness Centre Room J 1004. For more info go to

Get well soon, Fanshawe!