Staying Healthy During Flu Season

Winter is almost here, and so is one of our (not so) favorite things as Penn State students—the “Penn State Plague.”

The Penn State Plague, also known as a variety of illnesses—flu, stomach bug, mono, you name it—that are rapidly spread during the cold winter months at Penn State, is debatably the most dreaded thing that could happen to a student.

Though, sometimes it feels like avoiding sickness is impossible, VALLEY has a few tips to keep you healthy as flu season rapidly approaches.

Vitamins & Minerals

Okay, this one seems obvious, but it’s so incredibly important! A strong immune system is key in fighting infections by the time the cold winter months roll around. Even if you take the kiddie gummy vitamins that your mom used to give you when you were five, that’s better than nothing!

VALLEY recommends:


Pronounced “ek-in-ay-sha,” this herb has a ton of benefits for your body, both short and long-term. Echinacea helps to prevent against bacterial and viral infections, boosts immunity and even prevents cancer. Most people take echinacea as a pill, but you can also open up the pill and sprinkle the contents into your tea as well.

VALLEY recommends:

Wash Your Hands

It’s easy to forget to wash your hands as often as you should, especially when you take part in a busy lifestyle (as most college students do). According to, “studies have shown that handwashing can prevent 1 in 3 diarrhea-related sicknesses and 1 in 5 respiratory infections, such as a cold or the flu.”

People often forget that things like door handles, table tops, toys and basically every surface you can think of are completely ridden with germs. Sickness often occurs after someone touches an infected surface and then touches their eyes, nose or mouth without realizing it, which is why it is so vital to keep your hands clean. Hand-washing has been proven to be the most effective way to remove germs, however, if you are always on-the-go, try carrying a mini hand sanitizer with you.

VALLEY recommends:

Flu Shots

If you don’t have time to schedule a doctor’s appointment to receive your annual flu shot, all you have to do is take 10 minutes to walk into the closest CVS Minute Clinic or Walgreen’s to get one (no appointment needed). According to, “flu activity typically peaks in January or February,” so try to get vaccinated as soon as you can!

Reduce Stress

Too much stress + too little sleep = sickness! Being a college student can be extremely stressful so it’s vital that you take time for yourself to relax and take it easy. Even if it’s just one day a week that you dedicate to caring for yourself, it can make all the difference. Take a shower, throw on a face mask, light some candles, sip some tea, watch some Netflix and get a great night of sleep. As Tom from Parks and Rec once said, “Treat. Yo. Self.

VALLEY hopes the plague doesn’t hit you, but these tips will hopefully cure you quickly!