Alabama is facing a highly contagious strain of the flu right now, and students are becoming more and more affected, especially if they are in close quarters with someone who is infected.
Sydney Ross, sophomore in mechanical engineering, is the resident assistant for Dowdell Hall in Auburn’s Quad dorms. She works firsthand with these kinds of issues and has advice on how students can be aware and sanitary this flu season while living in such a small space.
It is no secret that getting sick is like a domino effect for those around the person.
“Roommates are for sure likely to get each other sick, and suite-mates are, too,” Ross said.
These shared spaces are highly crucial in the spread of illnesses, so they have to be cleaned properly.
“Keep all shared surfaces disinfected,” Ross said. “The sink, the shower and doorknobs are a good place to start.”
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Having the right cleaning supplies and knowing how to use them is another thing Ross thinks is very important for residents.
“Definitely keep Lysol or Clorox wipes on hand,” she said. “They’re an easy way to disinfect a lot of surfaces. I would advise that residents not mix cleaning supplies. Some combinations of bleach and ammonia, both found in household cleaners, will create toxic fumes.”
It may come naturally for some on how to clean a bathroom, but how to disinfect a bedroom might seem more challenging because, typically, it is not good to have harsh chemicals near one’s face.
“We tend to disinfect and bleach the bathroom, but you typically just straighten and sweep your bedroom,” she said. “I’m not saying residents should go bleach the walls of their room, but you can easily take a Lysol wipe and clean your desk and drawer handles. The same goes for the bathroom. You vacuum and sweep your bedroom, so throw the bath mat and shower curtain in the washing machine. Keeps everything clean, and it’s also really nice to have fluffy bath mats.”
Inevitably, when a roommate gets sick, it’s highly challenging to avoid them and the germs, especially in The Hill, The Quad and Cambridge dorms. Ross advised to spend as little time in the room as possible in this situation.
“This can be difficult when sleeping, but if you usually study in your room try studying in the library or the student center,” she said. “Open the windows to let fresh air and sunlight in during the day to kill germs and keep air moving through the room. Disinfect what surfaces you can, and make sure you aren’t sharing any food or drink.”
Aside from cleaning, Ross said it is the resident’s personal responsibility to keep their belongings clean and personal hygiene good.
“People typically don’t think about disinfecting their phone or laptop,” she said. “Those are items we touch and use constantly, so they’re always covered in germs. Light switches and elevator buttons are another big problem, especially since those are surfaces that lots of residents touch.”
Ross also thinks it is important for residents to eat healthy, sleep well, stay hydrated and get the appropriate vaccines to keep themselves healthy and combat potential sicknesses, like the flu.
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