Cold & flu season: How resident assistants are tackling germs running through Iona’s dorm halls


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Gaels are doing their best to protect themselves from cold and flu season on top of COVID-19.

Tiffany Persaud, Features & Lifestyle Editor

“Wash your hands you detty pig!” Eric Effiong’s character from “Sex Education” exclaims.  

It is the time of year again where no one is safe from the cold and flu. Although mask reinforcements do help prevent the spread of germs in classrooms, the dorm halls are a whole other story. Roommates live and breathe amongst each other, so outside germs can be very easily spread.  

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the cost of cleaning supplies has absurdly increased. Anti-bacterial wet wipes and hand sanitizer, the two most common products students keep with them to protect themselves from germs, must now be a part of a budget since students have to take COVID and cold/flu precautions.  

In addition to their other responsibilities, Iona’s resident assistants are tackling two types of widespread sicknesses. Considering plenty of students have been absent from classes, maybe it’s not Iona’s cleaning measures that are lacking, but the risks students take when going out in high-contact areas, especially to parties and bars. Either way, no one can live in a bubble on an active campus.  

College students may be forgetful when they prioritize schoolwork, so RAs, like senior Laura Arroyo, communicate healthy reminders. Boosting your immune system is crucial, so bodily nourishment such as healthy foods and sleep can help. 

“As an RA I prioritize health and safety,” Arroyo said. “It’s important to remind others to take care of themselves and focus on ways to prevent any germs from spreading. Washing your hands, using a disinfectant spray, wearing a mask and drinking water are essential, especially when living in such close quarters such as residential buildings.”  

Senior Chris Feliciano prefers to make students sneeze with this Febreze collection than have them sneezing as a cold and flu symptom.  

 “I spray Lysol in the air and then rose-scented air freshener,” Feliciano said. “I mean I just sort of remind them to have masks on since cold/flu season is worse on top of COVID. And I occasionally wipe down the handles to the doors and such.”  

It’s the RA’s job to enforce protocol, but they cannot babysit students. Students are adults, capable of deciphering what they should do to avoid illness. Common sense and basic hygiene should be enough protection to survive the season.  

Senior Jules Barbieri takes the initiative to distance herself when needed. It’s nothing personal, but if you know someone has cold and flu symptoms, it’s best to avoid direct contact with them.  

“I always make sure I wash my hands and keep hand sanitizer on me at all times, especially after touching surfaces that aren’t always disinfected regularly with being back to in-person classes,” Barbieri said. “I also make sure I wear my mask in the residence halls and if I don’t feel 100%, I stay away from my residents and friends because of how quick germs spread on a college campus.”  

Asking mom for her chicken noodle soup recipe and going to CVS to stock up on tea bags and Tylenol are only surface level solutions. If you haven’t already, getting a flu vaccine is highly recommended by the CDC to prevent infection.