November is finally here which means Thanksgiving break, final assignments from professors, and of course, flu season. Here are some tips to help you stay healthy as the last few weeks of the semester come to a chilly close.
Wash your hands!
One of the easiest things to do in order to keep from getting sick is to wash your hands after using the bathroom and before/after you eat. If you are a student living on campus, it is good to wash your hands after using the kitchen or lounges in the residence halls or eating in the cafeteria. If you frequent the gym/fitness center at Dixon, make sure you wipe down your equipment when you're done using it to avoid spreading germs to others, and wash your hands after you've finished your workout.
Clean your room!
You do not have to deep clean your whole room every single day, but wiping down frequently-used surfaces such as your desk/dresser once a week with a disinfecting wipe can help avoid the spread of germs. It can also be beneficial to use a paper towel or dry cloth to remove dust from areas not used as often. Settled dust/dirt can irritate your breathing or cause itchy eyes/throat. Washing your bedding regularly, especially fitted sheets and pillowcases, can help avoid the spread of germs while you sleep.
Wear layers outside!
Although the afternoons warm up slightly, it may still be too cold during your morning walk to class to just wear leggings and a nice shirt. Try wearing layers, such as a thicker jacket or sweatshirt with a vest, in order to brave the morning chill. This way, you can stay warm in the morning and as the day warms up (or if you have a class in a particularly stuffy classroom), you can remove your jacket/sweatshirt to stay comfortable throughout the day. Bonus: If you didn't have time to fully dry your hair after your shower (or after swim practice!), wear a hat to class to keep the cold air from sticking your wet hair to your neck/head.
Try not to share food, water bottles, etc. with others!
Even if someone may not have symptoms that come with sickness, they could still be carrying germs that can make you and others sick. Try not to share water bottles, utensils, or personal items with roommates, teammates, or friends. If you and your roommate(s) usually share a refrigerator or shelf space for food, try labeling your individual items to avoid mix-ups and the accidental spread of germs.
Eat well and stay hydrated!
Maintaining a balanced diet will continue to keep your immune system strong and able to fight off germs and common sicknesses. Try to eat three meals a day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) that all contain some source of protein, fruit/vegetables, and whatever else you like (in moderation). Staying healthy and drinking plenty of water will give you the energy you need to make it through the day, and give your body the nutrients it needs to fight off germs.
Get plenty of sleep!
Your body requires plenty of downtime to recover from your day and to allow your immune system to work effectively. College students should be getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night, sleep experts say. While sometimes you find it necessary to stay up an extra hour or two to finish that essay that you, of course, didn't start the night before it was due, it is important to manage your time in order to allow yourself and your body the time it needs to rest. This may require putting your phone down sooner and going right to bed, or taking one weekend off from going out late in order to get to bed early and catch up on sleep after a particularly busy week.
Get your flu shot!
Receiving your flu shot every fall can help prevent you from catching the flu or passing it on to others. The health center (located next to the caf) is currently offering flu shots for $25 that can be paid in cash, check, or billed to your student account. The health center can also provide information, resources, and health care if you feel yourself starting to get sick.