Health and Wellbeing Tips

Keep Up to Date 

It’s important to get up-to-date information about colds and the flu from our Local Public Health officials. If there is an emergency, keep your emergency contacts in a shared space so that your housemates have easy access to this information, if needed. 

Be Prepared

To go along with the above, it is helpful to be considerate of roommates who may have an increased risk for illness. If you are able to, discuss options on what to do if someone in your household were to get sick. 

Some questions to consider: 

  • Is there a separate bathroom that someone who is ill can use? 
  • If someone does get sick, are roommates okay with the possibility of preparing meals for them? 

It is also important to: 

  • Wash your hands with soap and water frequently (guidelines suggest for 20 seconds but you can also sing the “Happy Birthday” song). View the video "How to wash your hands". 
  • Be open and honest with your roommates about any symptoms you may be experiencing. 
  • Stay home if you are sick. 
  • Cover your sneeze or cough with a tissue and dispose of the tissue into the garbage. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub. 
  • Clean ‘high-touch’ surfaces on a regular basis (doorknobs, light switches, taps, door handles, countertops). These surfaces can also include money/cash, doorknobs, handrails, elevator buttons, light switches, cabinet handles, faucet handles, tables, countertops and electronics. In child and youth settings, such surfaces may also include toys and play/sports equipment. 

Cleaning Tips

Cleaning your house and hands is one of the best defences when it comes to preventing any sickness. 

  • Clean high-touch areas each day, and after you have a guest in your home. 
  • Clean other surfaces in the home when they are visibly dirty, or as needed. It’s always a good idea to clean more frequently after having a guest in the home. 
  • Always follow the directions on the label of your cleaning products, check the expiry date of products that you use and check to see if the product has a disinfecting agent in the ingredients. 
  • Wear gloves when cleaning and ensure proper ventilation while using a disinfectant. 

When a roommate is sick: 

  • If the sick person is able to clean, make sure to provide them with their own supplies (paper towels, toilet paper, cleaners). 
  • The sick person should clean all surfaces and items after each use in shared spaces. 
  • Use a dedicated garbage bin when handling the sick person’s garbage and wash your hands after handling their garbage. 
  • Always store cleaning products as directed on the label. 

For soft surfaces (rugs, carpets, drapes) 

Clean the surfaces with soap & water or with designated cleaners for these surfaces. 


  • For laundry, use warm water and make sure to dry items completely. You can also use vinegar for dual purpose: fabric softener and disinfectant. 
  • Clean laundry hampers or baskets. Wash your hands after handling dirty laundry. 
  • Wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer after touching surfaces such as washing machines and dryers. 
  • Limit your time in shared laundry space. Sort and fold laundered items in your room.

Communal Living 

Student life tends to be busy with being on campus, working on projects, working and making time to be social. It’s okay to talk to your roommates about your comfort levels with having visitors in your home. 

Difficult Conversations 

There are going to be times that not everyone gets along. It’s normal. 

Sometimes you may need to have ‘bigger’ discussions, where you can use “I Statements.’ This is when we communicate how something makes us feel in a non-confrontational way. The basic layout is to say “I feel (emotion) when….”. These statements are based solely on how you feel and are not meant to hurt or upset your housemates. Try to listen to what everyone is saying. There are many distractions that can impact your ability to listen. Be aware of your own feelings and try to not project or push your feelings onto others. In doing so, you can create a neutral environment. 

Other effective communication skills are: 

Mindfulness: A global pandemic is a heavy topic that can bring up a lot of feelings and the potential for conflict. Learn how to notice and manage your emotions so that the situation does not escalate. Be mindful of your tone. (It’s not always what we say, but how we say it.) You should check in with yourself during these conversations and ask yourself, “is this a conversation, or is this an argument?” 

Open-ended questions: These are questions that cannot be answered with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response. These types of questions bring our thoughts, feelings or ideas. You can use these questions to gain a better understanding. Try to refrain from asking too many open-ended questions, as it could make someone feel like they’re being interrogated. 

We are not always going to agree with one another, but by using affirmations, you are validating someone’s feelings by being empathetic. 

Wrap up the conversation by highlighting some key points that have been discussed. These types of discussions may last awhile, or may be done in small spurts. Summarize what was discussed and decided on. 

This is just a brief overview of what can be done to help you and your housemates. We recognize that these are tough conversations to have, and Campus Wellness is here to support. Don’t hesitate to reach out! Email hwc [at] (hwc[at]mohawkcollege[dot]ca).