We all know the horrors of “freshers’ flu”. If you haven’t experienced it, you probably know someone who has. Around o-week and the weeks following, many students living on campus get sick with flu or virus-like symptoms. So, I asked myself, why is it that at the same time every year students tend to get sick? As I reflected on my time at university so far, I noticed that I had gotten sick more often than I did before coming to university. I talked to a few other students who had the same issues. I started researching to find out if my theory had any legitimacy.
Turns out, students living on campus have a high probability of getting sick as opposed to those living at home. The main reason for this is that living on campus puts many people in a small amount of space, exposing them to different germs. When students are “sharing restrooms, showers, desks and dining space…germs are bound to spread” (U.S. News). However, there are other contributing factors that significantly lower students’ immune systems. Stress, diet, and lack of sleep all play a big role in our ability to fight off illness. Alcohol also effects our immune systems. It’s no surprise that many university students consume high amount of alcohol. In fact, the Center for Disease Control states that “approximately 80 percent of students in college drink alcohol. About 20 percent of them have engaged in binge drinking three or more times in a two-week period” (Livestrong). The important thing to realize is that “Those who consume alcohol at higher-than-moderate levels experience double the rate of pneumonia, and increased rate of tuberculosis, hepatitis C, and cancer, as well as greater exposure to hepatitis B, HIV, and other infections” (Alcohol Treatment).
I find this topic particularly relevant to university students because chronic illness has multiple effects on our wellbeing. Sickness keeps students from going outside, meeting new people, or enjoying various hobbies. This tends to get people down or could lead to depression. One of the more important issues with getting sick is how it changes our ability to participate and do well academically. When students are ill, they tend to stay home from classes which leads to them falling behind in content and assessments.
In my research, I would like to survey various university students, both on-campus and off-campus residents, in order to discover if there is a higher rate of illness in students living on campus. I would also like to find out if there are certain times of year that people send to get sick, and if it is around the times students are consuming more alcohol. Hopefully, my research will bring light to why students get sick, and how we can avoid it.
The Effect of Alcohol Abuse On The Immune System
How College Students Can Avoid Getting Sick
The Reasons College Kids Get Sick