Surviving The FSU Plague (Don't Worry, It's Not Actually a Plague)

By Rachel Dranetz on December 3, 2017

It sneaks up on you while you sleep, stalks you on your way to class. Watch out because this silent predator is out to ruin your week.

The FSU Plague, as students (un)affectionately coined it. More accurately, it encompasses the annual season of illnesses that festers- typically right before finals week. Colds, flues, bronchitis, strep throat, mononucleosis (yikes); diseases that spread like wildfire among students. While it probably won’t kill you like an actual plague would, it still sucks to catch it.

FSU Health and Wellness Center

Plague Prevention

Sickness is practically unavoidable when people are living and gathering in such close quarters; such as in dorms, or even just in classes. No matter how inevitable it may seem, there are still steps you can take to decrease your risks of getting sick.

1.) Hygiene- 

The biggest thing to remember about germs, is that they are first and foremost microscopic. Germs are everywhere. It’s unavoidable really, though luckily most of them are harmless, or even healthy. But where the bad germs fester, are in areas where a lot of people come into contact. Doorknobs. Bathrooms. Desks. Doorknobs.

Hand sanitizer, antibacterial wipes, or even just soap and water. Make sure to stock up on whatever you may need to stay healthy. Not to say that you should try and live in a plastic bubble to avoid any and all illnesses. The easiest solution is just to wash your hands- particularly after using the bathroom, and before eating anything. If you’re a gym rat who’s always in the Leach, wipe down equipment before using it. Sharing sweat is a crafty way for bacteria and viruses to travel. Don’t share towels, and don’t share water bottles.

Hygiene is key to fighting any ‘plague’; this includes bathing regularly, and just generally keeping a clean living space.

2.) Healthy Lifestyle = Healthy Life

It’s not really rocket science. Having your body in a healthy condition makes it easier for you to fight off disease. Eat regularly (and healthily, if possible), get enough exercise, and get plenty of sleep- well, as much as you can in the weeks leading up to finals. Help your body help you! Not catching the FSU Plague is definitely worth the extra effort.

3.) Vaccinate

Every college student understands. Sometimes taking time out of your busy schedule to go and get a flu shot just seems like more effort than it’s worth. But don’t be fooled, the alternative is 150% worse. Just go get vaccinated. Most of the time it’s either dirt cheap, or straight up free of charge.

Surviving the Plague

Now you’ve done it. The next 5-20 days of your life are guaranteed to be miserable, all because some walking petri dish of infestation sat next to you and proceeded to sneeze right in your face during your lecture. Consider your finals week miserable- you have 3 papers to write and 4 exams to cram for, and you are undoubtedly screwed. But fear not; there are ways to make living slightly more bearable.

1.) See a doctor

Just do it. Honestly, it’s so much less complicated than it seems; heck, there are doctors on campus in the Health and Wellness Center waiting for patients to show up. Most of the time, you don’t even need to make an appointment (though you certainly can if you want to). The sooner you find out what you have, the sooner you can work on recovering.

The first and most important step in fighting off any sickness, is knowing what you’re up against. Don’t spend a week taking over the counter cold medicine, only for your bronchitis to gradually get worse and worse. Doctors can tell you what you have, how to treat it, and even how long it will take for it to go away. And please, don’t rely just on whatever the internet tells you.

2.)  Be Prepared

When you’re sick at home, struggling to live, make sure you have everything you need to help you with whatever symptoms you have. Also, during this time of the year especially, attending class is the key for passing your finals. But your time in class can be not miserable; if you come prepared. Cough drops, tissues, Tylenol, hot tea- make sure you bring/take whatever you need to stay functioning and alive during class, or even during finals.

*Side Note*- If you hate the taste of cough drops, try Vitamin C drops. They work just as well, but taste more like citrus candies instead of straight cough syrup. (It sure beats hacking a lung out in the middle of class.)

You can do it. Student have been locked in battle with the FSU Plague for centuries, and if they could persevere, so can you!

Check out University Health Services for more information, or make an appointment today at Health and Wellness Center.


Rachel is an English (Editing, Writing, and Media) major doubling in Classical Civ. After she gets her degrees, she aspires to work mher way into editing and publishing, so that she can help bring new books into the world.

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