Healthy Cane Column

I have heard about students contracting serious diseases from living in a dorm because of the circulating central air, is this possible?

It’s not the air that increases the occurrence of diseases, it’s all the cuddling and sharing sodas, makeup, clothes, toothbrushes, shot glasses, pillows and.well, you get the picture.

Although diseases such as meningococcal meningitis have been found to fester in college dormitories, Dr. Howard Anapol, director of the Health Center said that diseases such as meningitis are spread through close contact, and are not likely to be affected by central air units.

The close quarters that students live in and the personal contact – ahem, sex – in college-aged students increases the likelihood of contracting diseases such as meningitis, mononucleosis, viral Gastroenteritis, the flu and other diseases such as the common cold and – I know no one likes to think about it – but STDs!

There is some good news: you can avoid getting these diseases! Exciting, I know. But how you may ask? Well, stop being so gross! Don’t share your personal products, wash your hands ALL THE TIME, and try not to swap spit with someone with a cold or a cold sore. Yes, you can get Herpes from kissing someone with a herpes sore and yes the rumors are true that herpes can be spread to OTHER parts of your body.

Also, take vitamin C – that shouldn’t be difficult living in Florida – and make sure your immunizations are up to date. The University of Miami requires proof of immunizations against measles, mumps, rubella and, for those of you who are international, tuberculosis screening. The university suggests that all students receive immunization against chicken pox, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (the last three are combined in one shot so don’t get scared), hepatitis and meningococcal meningitis.

These immunizations are offered to all students at the health center at various costs depending on the vaccination – the hepatitis A and B shots are $65, meningitis is $95 and tetanus is $55.

Information derived from and Dr. Anapol from The University of Miami Health Center.

Ashleyann Gosselin may be contacted at