If there is one favorable result that has come out of this whole H1N1 hysteria, I think it is that college students have learned to better take care of themselves. Our school’s administration has done an excellent job of informing students about the personal responsibilities each of us has to take to ensure that we stay healthy and flu-free.
One of the first things that was addressed during RA training was the prevalence of H1N1 on college campuses; it was daunting to read articles about students passing away from the killer flu, to hear about quarantine facilities at other schools and to hear about our school’s ultimate evacuation plan if the disease spreads far and wide at UR.
But I feel that I have been well-trained and well-informed as an RA to serve as a resource if students have questions about their health or what to do if they have flu like symptoms.
At the same time, students are cognizant of what they need to do to protect themselves and those around them if they suspect that they are ill. Simple acts, just as reviewing the green flowchart on the doors in their dorm rooms to assess their symptoms, informing University Health Service of their health status and seeking medical care or even requesting a mask from their RA can make a difference.
I have noticed changes in my behavior since the summer, which have been fostered by this newfound sense of personal hygiene and responsibility. After putting up signs about handwashing in the bathrooms on my floor, I have become a bit of a chronic hand-washer. If I am not in the vicinity of the bathroom, I find the closest Purell dispenser. It has been a pleasant surprise to walk around and find these new dispensers, now permanent fixtures on our campus, to help students realize that hand-washing is the best way to diminish the spread of bacteria.
Even after being sick with a cold for the past week, I took the initiative to remain in my room and not walk around campus excessively to prevent the further spread of germs and bacteria.
I even find it valuable that there is now a section on H1N1 in the Pre-departure Orientation Course manual for students planning on studying abroad.
To understand the ramifications of the disease on a global scale and to learn how to prepare for a new environment with a different form of health care is of critical importance for students. UHS is also constantly updating students about receiving the flu shot and is encouraging students to get the H1N1 vaccine upon its release.
We as college students are in the pool of world citizens who are most vulnerable to this epidemic, and we should take preventative measures as early as possible.
Students at UR are certainly aware of what to do, and I feel that our school has assisted us in gaining awareness and advocating better health practices.
Venkateswaran is a member of
the class of 2011.

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