As the fall continues and winter approaches, people are starting to get sick. They catch colds, the flu, and a variety of other winter ailments. And with everyone living in such close quarters, a whole dorm can get sick at the drop of a hat. So here are some helpful tips so you can stay healthy on campus and avoid catching something this winter!
1. Wash your hands – You probably remember seeing those posters around your elementary schools that said “Don’t forget to wash your hands” once you came out of the bathroom, or the nurses office. Well according to the Center for Disease Control, washing your hands is one of the most effective ways of preventing the spread of disease. We’re constantly touching things, and what we don’t see are the millions of microscopic germs all over the place, and our hands transport them everywhere.
2. Eat Healthy – Even though eating healthy can be a bit of a struggle on campus, keeping a balanced diet can help if you get sick. Your body uses more energy when it’s trying to fight off sickness, so you have to feed it more nutritious foods. Soup is always a good option, as well as the daily five fruits and vegetables. If you have a meal plan, make sure to take full advantage of it. There is healthy food at the cafeteria, even if it is often hiding behind the pizza and mac and cheese.
3. Workout and Drink Lots of Water – Your body requires water to survive, it’s made of 80% water. So be sure to drink plenty of water. It can help to detox your body. Hot drinks are also helpful, like hot chocolate or tea. They can be soothing, especially for a sore throat. If you are drinking alcohol, stick to your own solo cup! Avoid keg stands and ice luges as they are full of germs. When you are playing beer pong/beirut, try to play with water and drink your own cup instead of drinking out of the ones on the table.
Working out will definitely help because it forces you to drink water, and encourages a healthy sleep schedule. It also helps eliminate the extra calories from unavoidable junk food binges, and maintain a healthy weight.
4. Get Plenty of Sleep – It’s not uncommon to pull and all-nighter in college, but what you may not know is that not sleeping can actually make you sick. Not getting enough sleep puts you at a higher risk of getting sick because your body doesn’t have enough time to recuperate. According to Dr. Morgenthaler from the Mayo Clinic, when we sleep our immune system produces disease fighting proteins. So without enough sleep, our body doesn’t have the time to produce these, making you more likely to catch something.
5. Go to Health Services – If you think you might have caught something, don’t let it get out of hand. Go see a doctor on campus. What’s the worst thing that could happen? They tell you you’re not sick. If you are, then they’ll prescribe something for you. But even if you aren’t, they can give you some tips like these to help you feel better.
Hand washing: http://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/why-handwashing.html
Get sleep: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/expert-answers/lack-of-sleep/faq-20057757
Eat healthy: http://greatist.com/health/best-foods-eat-when-sick and http://www.scripps.org/articles/4247-eating-extra-calories-when-you-are-sick-adults
Drink Fluids: http://www.livestrong.com/article/415493-why-do-you-need-to-drink-plenty-of-water-when-sick/
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