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The Reasons College Kids Get Sick

By Debby Mayne ; Updated June 13, 2017

When students graduate from high school and leave for college, they often consider themselves being set free from the constraints of living at home with their parents. What often happens is the opposite, as this freedom brings its own problems. These include college kids getting sick from not taking care of themselves as their parents would.

Lack of Sleep

Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night. When they don't get even the minimum, their resistance wears down, and they are more susceptible to catching viruses, according to the Daily Collegian Online. College students are notorious for staying up late and pulling some all-nighters. After doing this several nights in a row, don't be surprised if you come down with the latest virus that is circulating on campus.


Most colleges are diverse places with large numbers of people from all over. This helps students learn about other cultures, but it also increases the amount of exposure to viruses and germs that can make them sick. College students live in confined spaces, share bathrooms with large numbers of people and touch classroom equipment that has been handled by many others who may have contracted the flu or colds.


When Mom isn't watching, it's okay to eat whatever you want. That's fine if you enjoy salads, vegetables and fruits. If you lean toward fast food, cookies and candy, you are risking your health and lowering your resistance to all sorts of diseases. Many young college students take advantage of their freedom and pig out on junk food that will ultimately make them sick.


Instead of the lack of stress they might expect, many college students feel more stress as they have to learn to manage their time, study on their own for exams and exercise self-discipline for the first time in their lives. According to the University of Wisconsin Platteville website, too much stress can cause irritability, depression, increased desire to smoke, back pain, accidents, migraines and weakness. It can also lower your immunity to disease.

Substance Abuse

The Centers for Disease Control website claims that some college students have added peer pressure to use drugs, cigarettes and alcohol. According to CDC statistics, approximately 80 percent of students in college drink alcohol. About 20 percent of them have engaged in binge drinking three or more times in a two-week period. Substance abuse puts students at risk for accidental injuries and death, and it lowers their resistance to diseases. Mixing alcohol and other drugs can lead to coma and sometimes death.

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