OPINION: The ‘Claremont Cold’ calls for new sanitary habits

The person on the left sneezes, while the person on the right coughs. They are surrounded by germs with different faces on them.
(Ella Lehavi • The Student Life)

As the year comes to an end, many of us students are looking toward the holidays and going back home to spend time with loved ones. These last few weeks of the year are filled with the final stretches of our first semester classes, turning in any missing assignments and growing anticipation of long breaks to be enjoyed. However, with the winter season also comes a wave of sicknesses and colds. Unofficially dubbed the “Claremont Cold,” one specific unknown sickness has swept over the 5Cs, affecting students across all campuses. 

Since returning from Thanksgiving break, there’s been at least one student coughing in the corner or getting up at spontaneous times to get a tissue in all of my classes. Due to post-break COVID-19 testing, we know that these students don’t have covid — but there’s still cause for those around them to worry that they might get sick from germ exposure. Regardless of the illness, it’s no fun being stuck in your dorm room recovering. We all much rather be spending our time being outdoors, hanging out with friends or enjoying pastimes and hobbies. It’s a hassle having to get up and throw away your used tissue every few minutes and trying to resist the urge to sneeze while writing your assignments. 

So, what can we as students do to prevent the spread of the “Claremont Cold?” 

As a society that’s still grappling with a global pandemic, we’ve learned how to adopt new sanitary habits and implement them almost immediately, just like how we did during the first few stages of the pandemic. To stop the “Claremont Cold” from wreaking its unjolly chaos, we should harness this skill and tighten up our sanitary practices. 

Aside from wearing masks when showing symptoms of any sickness, students need to be cautious of how they are spreading their germs to others. For example, students should still be encouraged to wash their hands frequently when entering and exiting the dining halls, after using the restroom (this is a no brainer) and coming back to their dorm rooms. In addition, it’s good to develop the habit of cleaning up as you go: specifically at dining halls or using bathroom sinks, it’s courteous to pick up your trash and wipe down the surfaces before leaving. 

Throughout the 5Cs, many public spaces such as the Honnold-Mudd Library and gym facilities as well as classrooms have disinfecting wipes and/or hand sanitizer for students to access when utilizing the area: use them. Though often overlooked, it is important to clean and sanitize shared resources among students. Doing so not only helps prevent you from getting in contact with the “Claremont Cold” but also protects others when they use it after you. 

As we gear up before the final weeks of fall semester, it is extremely important to look after yourself and your health. Finals are coming up, and I can assure you no one wants to take tests with a cold or fever. Moreover, many of us are traveling back home to see family, friends and to celebrate the holidays. 

Start by washing your hands regularly. Whether that’s when coming back to your dorm after class or before entering the dining hall, get into a routine of keeping yourself clean. Then, begin getting into a habit of wiping down surfaces after usage — especially after your set at the gym or after finishing your meal. When one starts taking action, others will start to pick up your habits and adopt them as well. 

As many parents would say: “It’s better to be safe than sorry.” I don’t know about you, but I certainly do not want to take my exams or open holiday presents with a sore throat. As a community, let’s be mindful of others and begin adopting sanitary habits to keep ourselves healthy and prevent the spread of the “Claremont Cold.” No, it’s not COVID-19 — but in these final few weeks, let’s treat it as if it were.

Carter Soe PZ ’26 is from San Ramon, California. He enjoys being outdoors, reading books and spending his money on overpriced coffee.

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