• Mayo Clinic Minute: Staying healthy while at college

College life means close quarters, and that can create an environment for getting sick.

"Often, what the person next to you is doing is affecting your health," says Dr. Denise Millstine, a Mayo Clinic internal medicine physician.

That's why Dr. Millstine says a strong defense is key — starting with the annual influenza vaccine.

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"It's a good idea to get that on the early side if you're at college because certainly you don't want to be sick when it's exam time or projects are due," says Dr. Millstine.

It's also important to stay on schedule with previously prescribed medications and to scrub your way through every semester.

"We always hear about washing our hands, covering our cough," Dr. Millstine explains. "But it's incredibly important when you're a college student."

So is finding ways to manage the college-level stress, which Dr. Millstine says can equal sickness.

"When you're exposed to a virus and you're under a lot of stress, you're more likely to get sick than a person exposed to the same virus who's not as stressed out," adds Dr. Millstone.

And if your defense fails, and a cough or fever hits, take yourself out of the game until you recover.

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