Even though the holiday season brings cheer, it also brings sickness and respiratory illness to stressed students trying to finish their exams.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the three best ways to prevent the flu or a cold is to, “wash your hands often with soap and warm water, get vaccinated against the flu and choose over-­the-­counter medicines that treat only your specific symptoms.”

Students and staff can also eat healthy food, exercise, get enough sleep and find ways to reduce stress.

While most respiratory illnesses don’t last very long, they can get worse if they are not taken care of.

The FDA provided statistics in 2010 indicating that “more than 200,000 people in the United States are hospitalized from flu­-related complications each year, including 20,000 children younger than age 5.”

Flu­-associated deaths number in the thousands each year in the U.S.

If you find yourself victim of a cold or the flu, call your doctor in order to find the best course of action to take during the illness.

During your sickness, rest up, drink plenty of fluids and limit contact with other people. When taking over-­the­-counter medication, check labels and use medication appropriately.

If your illness worsens — your fever stays consistently high, a disrupting cough keeps you awake, or you experience chest pains or sinus infection pains — seek medical attention immediately.

For those looking for treatment and going to school, the College of Nursing offers Student and University Health Services to members of the campus community. They have licensed nurse practitioners and registered nurses available to provide medical service.

Students can make appointments by calling 423-­439­-4225 for an appointment during clinic hours which are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Students must bring their ETSU photo ID, insurance card and all medicines or a list of prescribed medication.

Charges will be made to filed insurance and students will pick up fees from there.