How to stay healthy in community living
Being able to say that I live in a multi-million dollar mansion sounds glamorous — until I add that I share the house with 56 other women and spent my first year sleeping in a room with 39 of them.
Living in such close quarters with so many people raises possible health concerns, especially in a climate like ours. With 50 people sharing one kitchen, one dining room and few bathrooms, it’s easy for one person to leave a dish or spill food and walk away without getting caught. At that point, it could be any one of the 50 that left the mess.
That’s why, with the flu season approaching, it’s important for everyone to be a little more responsible than they’re used to and step up in order to prevent an outbreak of illness.
At the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, biweekly house duties for live-in members are enforced. Once a month, the chapter does an all-house clean, which member Greg Leijon said are much more thorough.
Kappa Delta’s house director Candi Mabee believes that the single most important thing to do, when living in a communal situation, is to wash your hands.
“You’ll always see me around the house saying ‘Wash your hands!’ ‘Did you wash your hands?’” Mabee said. “And we have hand sanitizers everywhere throughout the house.”
Even with this much prevention, outbreaks do happen in these living environments. Despite their efforts, Lambda Chi’s live-ins experienced a spread of the stomach flu last winter.
“We handled the situation by having ill members get a diagnosis at the health center,” Leijon said. “They then isolated themselves in their rooms.”
In addition, a housekeeper is employed at every chapter house to expertly sanitize the entire house on a mostly daily basis.
The once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of living in such large houses comes with more responsibility than most would think, but the rewards far outweigh the negative fears.
In the end, if your immune system survives this, it can survive anything.
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