It’s that time of the year again. Pull out the sweatshirts, jeans, and sadly, the cold medicine. Yes, fall is upon us again and the seasonal colds came with it. And if you’re a student like me, you’ll notice the “Fall Flu” is back on campus. You know what I mean. After a week or two, someone catches a mild cold and then it spreads in the dorms like wildfire. The next time you go to a class, the air is polluted with the sounds of coughing, sneezing, and noses being blown. Luckily for me, I commute. However, there are a few tips you can use to try and stay easy breathing and cough free.
Take steps via Diet/ Exercise Routine First
Keep A Steady Intake of Vitamins
Building up your immune system should be the primary action to avoid getting sick. Vitamin C is the primary vitamin known to increase immune system health.
Be sure to increase citrus fruits. Spread them out throughout the day and mix up the variety and preparation. Be sure to get as many nutrient dense whole foods in without multivitamin supplementation.
Take a multivitamin if, and only if, you cannot manage enough time for whole foods. If you do decide to take one, read the entire label first.
Increase immune system health with exercise
Getting your heart rate up and working up a sweat are two good ways to build up your immune system. This doesn’t mean to hit the gym for a 1 on 1 treadmill session to the death. Instead, take a run around campus or your neighborhood. If you live where you can witness the changing of seasons, enjoy the scenery of changing leaves and (what I find to be) perfect temperature conditions.
With the two “building blocks” of diet and exercise established, there are several behavioral changes you can perform.
Wash You Hands As Much As Possible
You’ve been told this ever since you were a child. Washing your hands is the easiest way to prevent spreading illness. You especially know this if you work in a food environment.
If you recently touched public doors, keyboards, desk space, are about to eat, etc, be sure to wash your hands in a close time proximity afterwards. If you can’t, there are other alternatives to helping you out. Which brings me to my next point.
Keep Hand Sanitizer Close
This is only to be used when washing your hands is more “out of the way.” Head over to the nearest Dollar Tree, 5 and Below, Wal-Mart, or just the local pharmacy and pick up a travel sized bottle. Keep it in your purse, backpack, pocket, wherever.
Avoid Touching Things with your Hands
It sounds weird, but let me explain. This goes back to touching public areas. Think about the things you instinctively grab or touch. Door handles, keyboards, water fountain buttons, desks and chairs, you get the idea. Now think about everyone else who has touched the same object right after sneezing, coughing, wiping their nose, or rubbing their eyes. And if you have a decent sized student body with a high traffic building, it’s very easy to catch something. Especially if you bite your nails, rub your eyes, or just touch your face alot.
There are a few ways to keep yourself on the clean side of things.
Push doors open with your foot, shoulders, elbows, or by walking back into it. This is the same method doctors use in their offices. It’s simple and works.
For doors that you pull open, grab the very bottom of the handle. Why? Because how many times have you seen someone grab the bottom? It’s mainly the top or middle part.
If you still want a better method, just roll your sleeve down past your hand and open it making contact with the cloth.
Keep a can of Lysol around your living area
Probably the easiest thing to do out of anything else. Keep a disinfectant spray within reach to keep your bed, computer, desk, etc clean.
If you’re really a Germ-a-phobe, keep sanitizing wipes on you and wipe off the table area before you sit down and eat.
As bizarre are some of the ideas sound, they work. Believe me, I’ve gotten a few weird looks for performing some of these methods, too. However, I haven’t been sick since high school (currently a junior). The main reason? I think being sick to be one of the most annoying things to experience. Especially if it can be prevented.
Take this advice as you may. And above all else, drink water and stay safe.