Students should be more hygienic in residence halls

By Brooklynn Harper

More than 5,000 students living in residence halls must be aware of the increased health risks of community living and take action to protect themselves.

Becoming ill is easy for students to when living in shared spaces like residence halls. A person with Measles attended NIU graduation this past year, according to a May 22. Nothern Star article.

For many of us, college life begins the day we move into the residence halls, and this means we begin a year of sharing our personal spaces. Bathrooms, bedrooms and eating areas are communal in many of the residence halls and so we are always in contact with other persons’ living habits. If we do not kill bacteria by cleaning, it has a chance to grow and colonize. Once bacteria does grow and we come into contact with it, we are at risk of illness, according to

“Living in a dorm room is like living in a petri dish,” said Lisette LeCorgne, a nurse practitioner at the University of Arizona Campus Health Services.

During my month and a half of living in New Hall Residence Hall, I have gotten two colds and two people in my cluster caught it from me.

“I got sick, and then the next thing I knew, all of my friends were sick,” said freshman accountancy major Rachel Wilkosz. “We all sat around complaining about how awful we felt.”

College students are not known to be the cleanest. Think about it — other than prior to Move-in Day, it is unlikely the surfaces we touch every day in the residence halls, such as door handles, have been disinfected. New Hall Residence Hall is cleaned once a month, said Emily Packer sophomore finance major who works at the front desk.

Colds are transmitted both through air and through hand-to-hand contact with the infected person, according to the NIU Health Services website. Frequent and thorough hand washing, avoiding touching the face, plenty of sleep and proper nutrition will minimize the risk of cold contraction, according to the website. Increased contact with people means increased contact with bacteria and viruses, and students cannot be idle if they wish to be healthy.

Mononucleosis, also known as mono, is another virus college students living in dorms are at high-risk of contracting, according to students between 15 and 30 years old who often are in contact with large numbers of people have the highest risk of catching mono, according to the website.

These are behaviors we have been taught our whole lives, but it is so crucial that we don’t stop doing them because we are living away from our parents who constantly reminded us. College students’ health is dependent on their responsibility — we have to be responsible for our own health.

Common behaviors such as pulling all-nighters, eating too many greasy foods in the dining halls rather than proper nutritious foods, kissing, drinking alcohol and using communal showers make risk for college students especially high, according to Students, particularly those living on-campus, must be aware of health risks and take measures to prevent them.