The whole nation is talking about swine flu, but that great pestilence known as midterms has once again been inflicting its ills upon Columbia. There are many strains of this disease, each with its own unique symptoms and varying degrees of severity. In an attempt to encourage responsible self-diagnosis, treatment. and an almost certain hypochondria pandemic, Bwog Self-Medication Bureau Chief Emily Ahn presents a selection of the most communicable, debilitating, humiliating exam-related ailments, and some of the cures.

Carpal tunnel syndrome: According to Web MD, “Carpal tunnel syndrome causes pain, tingling, and numbness in your hand from pressure on the median nerve in your wrist. Illnesses, pregnancy, and obesity can cause carpal tunnel syndrome. Rest and exercises relieve symptoms.” That’s right, go out and PLAY! But don’t have too much fun: excessive Guitar Hero may will aggravate this. See tendonitis.

Cervical radiculopathy: Disk compression in the neck, often caused by repetitive cradling of a phone on the shoulder…or hunching over your notes for an excessive period of time.

Deep vein thrombosis: Inactivity and dehydration (your study schedule prevents proper hydration) raises chance that clots will form in your leg veins. Sometimes, they happen to dislodge and travel to your lungs, causing a potentially fatal pulmonary embolism. So drink something (non-alcoholic, pal!) and save yourself an IV (which would take away study time) or a stroke (in which case you have larger worries than your Econ midterm).

Epicondylitis: “Tennis elbow is soreness or pain on the outer part of the elbow. It happens when you damage the tendons that connect the muscles of your forearm to your elbow. The pain may spread down your arm to your wrist. If you don’t treat the injury, it may hurt to do simple things like turn a key or open a door.” Or a textbook. There are two ways of fighting this condition:

1. Apply ice or cold packs at least 3 times a day for as long as you have pain, swelling, and inflammation. Those frozen vegetables you keep meaning to cook will do.

2. Wear a “counterforce” brace when you need to grasp or twist something. This is a strap around your forearm placed about an inch below your elbow. It eases the pressure on the tendon and spreads force throughout your arm.” Here, the distinction between Mathletes and athletes is blurred until 2 become 1.

Ganglion cyst: Swelling or lump in the wrist resulting from jelly-like substance that has leaked from a joint or tendon sheath. These go away naturally, but in this case, boasting about having more “growth” than the economy is not going to get you a pun-ny award.

Pseudomyopia: “Sudden nearsightedness that rapidly gets worse because of an underlying cause,” such as periods of prolonged work or sustained internet browsing. In fact, almost exclusively the latter. Close your books and computer and take a nap! Or better yet, take a cue from the masters

Spinal disc herniation: Tears in the lumbar discs that allow the inner jelly (nucleus pulposus, anyone?) to seep out and press on nerves. Can be caused by lots of sitting. Our favorite cure: fully taking advantage of its architecture, run laps up and down Lerner’s ramps for a little Lerner Lumbar Liberation.

And finally, internet addiction. In China, it may get you killed.

But really, the best way to fight these is to stop yourself from that extra hour of paper writing. Live a little, and it may just save your life. Until we all have swine flu, at least!