Let’s be honest, college is pretty gross and germ-filled. Here are a few tips on how to beat those nasty germs at their game.

1. Sleep


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Sleep is vital because of all the restorative processes that take place while you’re snoozing. Though staying up late to finish a paper or to cram learn those last few terms may seem like a wise decision to be prepared for the next day, it will hinder your test performance and immune system’s ability to fend off bacteria. Instead of waiting until the night before to study, space it out and get to bed early before that big test or assignment. Your brain and body will thank you.

2. Exercise


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When we’re up to our necks up in notecards and final papers to be written, exercise is commonly something that gets pushed aside because of the lack of time. However, exercise has been shown to boost immunity due to more active circulation of white blood cells and delayed release of stress hormones.

Try to aim for about half an hour of exercise for a study break during these especially busy and stressful times, even if it’s just a walk with friends. It will give your body and mind time to recharge between studying sessions.

3. Use Hand Sanitizer


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Since I am somewhat of a germ freak, I’ve always carried hand sanitizer with me. This has never been as vital to me as it is now in college. Because of the amount of people that college campuses serve and house, students likely come into contact with a greater amount and more diverse pool of germs than ever before.

To combat this, I use hand sanitizer after opening doors, immediately before eating at the dining halls after I’ve plated my food, and after working out at the gym. While studies show hand sanitizers are most useful during cold season, they’re still a good alternative if you can’t wash your hands right away.

4. Load up on Vitamin C


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Even after taking all of these precautionary measures, sometimes dorm germs are just too tough to beat. When you begin to feel like a bug is trying to bog you down, try eating an orange per day or taking Emergen-C to help your boost your body’s natural defenses and kill off those microbes. Just be careful – Vitamin C overdose is a real thing.

5. Drink Chicken Noodle Soup


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You’re no longer in denial about your sickness – you know you’re not feeling too hot, and in recognizing this, you decide to reach for a bowl of chicken noodle soup. This is a smart decision for many reasons, as chicken noodle soup has natural and scientific feel-good qualities, especially for colds.

Studies have found that its salty liquid nature causes mucus to thin out (gross, I know, but true!) while providing needed hydration, and broth ingredients inhibit the movement of inflammatory molecules, which makes the symptoms less severe. Nothing makes sickness away from home a little more tolerable than a bowl of warm chicken noodle soup.

Try these tips the next time you’re sick. I can’t guarantee it’ll cure you, but it’ll definitely keep the germs away!