How to: Keep the Environment Healthy While You Are Sick

Many folks dread flu season — and why not? Being sick is not the most fun you can have during midterms and can be harmful for your body, your immune system and those around you. But there is no greater victim of illness than the environment.

Each season, thousands of tissues, hundreds of pills and millions of gallons of water are eliminated in the name of human wellness. But that certainly isn’t fair to Mother Nature — we have a responsibility to make sure that we take care of our Earth BEFORE we take care of ourselves. This week’s guru gives you some ways you can save the planet even when you are sick.

First and foremost, the outright lie that you need to wash your hands to remain germ-free in order to avoid sickness is incredibly misleading. Not a single drop of the precious, drought-era tap water needs to be wasted in the name of germ prevention. The surest way to keep your sinuses and hands clean of bacteria is a full-body hazardous material suit. Sure, you’ll stand out in lecture — but not because of the suit. Peers will admire your commitment to saving the planet by not bathing, washing or scrubbing and wasting water in the process.

Wearing a hazmat suit full-time will also help preserve the air quality. Human respiration results in carbon dioxide emissions, which directly contribute to global warming. Humans have been around much longer than have Hummer H2s and are thus a collectively bigger threat to carbon dioxide emissions than are automobiles. By making sure you recycle your own breathing air by keeping it all in your hazmat suit, you help protect the environment

As an added bonus, you’ll save water on laundry by just wearing the hazmat suit for the entire duration of the sick season (which runs from the start of fall to the end of summer).

For runny noses, our go-to since childhood has been to grab a box of Kleenex (or Puffs, for the economically-minded student) and go nuts blowing snot at 100 miles an hour into a square tissue. A huge portion of our garbage is filled with used tissues (the same is also true for not-sick freshman males) and that translates to cubic miles of landfills full of our snotty booger-catchers.

While it certainly makes sense to be kind to trees and to ensure we are making full use of our tissues, this may be the year we need to start sharing our tissues with others. So if you’re sick, then your roommate probably is too — sharing your tissues will not only bring you closer together, but it will make you more conscious of your impact on the environment.

Used needles are dangerous to the environment, so when getting a flu shot, make sure you ask the vaccine administrator to recycle the needle from the previous patient. The possible health risks are far less dangerous than the impact of too many thrown out medical needles on the environment. Good health comes from a good environment and you will be directly contributing to the improvement of the world we all live in.