Autumn: As trees turn colour and students flock back to their respective education facilities, a healthcare professional's thoughts turn to … germs. After all, fall is the time of flu, allergies, colds and the rampant dispersal of those illness purveyors that tend to prosper in throngs of humans.

So, how do we combat germs and maintain that clean bill of health while school’s in session? As Nancy Pollock, a campus nurse advises, eating right and washing hands remain the most important practices.

“Education is always the best method to remain healthy and germ free,” she notes. “From a healthcare perspective, we focus on educating students to eat a healthy diet and wash hands. That’s the key aspect a lot of people underestimate.”

Still, even the most diligent scrubber can end up ill. To that extent, Pollock caveats that while a paper may be due tomorrow urging one to press on and attend class, taking some downtime may be the best course of action.

“Those with a fever should abstain from class. If you're coughing and sneezing — which you should do into your sleeve — those are airborne germs so stay home or you could make others sick. Also, if you push too hard, your immune system weakens and you end up getting sicker than if you just took a day off.”

If you're unsure? Check with your GP or campus clinic.