5 Tips to Help You Stay Healthy This Winter
BY COURTNEY GALLAGHER
Does it seem like everyone around you is getting sick? Your friends, roommate or the person who sits next to you in class? Although it is nearly impossible to avoid sick students on campus, there are some actions you can take to help you stay well. With many cases of colds, sinus infections and bronchitis currently on campus, Wellness Center Nurse Practitioner Kim Lorentz shares her tips for staying healthy.
1. Wash your hands.
“The number one thing I say is wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands,” Lorentz said. Everything people touch, such as door knobs, light switches and keyboards, contain germs, so washing your hands frequently or using hand sanitizer is necessary to avoid becoming sick and to avoid spreading sickness.
2. Drink plenty of water.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C), healthy people choose water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages. If you are in a hot climate, physically active, running a fever, having diarrhea or vomiting, your body needs more water than usual. Lorentz emphasized that students should never share drinks with anyone.
3. Eat well.
“Follow an eating plan with a variety of nutritious foods. Avoid foods that are high in calories, saturated fat, and reduce the amounts of sugars and salt in your diet, [and] be aware that beverages may be adding extra calories,” according to the CDC. A well-balanced diet is essential for staying healthy.
4. Manage Stress
Lorentz said managing stress is important because it allows down time for the body to have some rest and help keep the immune system from being worn down. You can manage stress by taking time for yourself, meditating or exercising. Adults need at least two hours and 30 minutes of physical activity each week.
The C.D.C’s “Tips for College Health and Safety” suggests getting creative about the ways you get exercise: Try “walking across campus instead of driving, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, working out with a friend or joining an intramural sports team.”
5. Get Plenty of Rest
Students should sleep for seven or eight hours each night, Lorentz said. Getting enough sleep is another way to reduce stress, and it keeps the immune system working effectively.
According to National Institutes of Health: “Ongoing sleep deficiency can change the way in which your immune system responds. For example, if you’re sleep deficient, you may have trouble fighting common infections.”