Last week many BVU students and staff received free flu shots from Health Services & Wellness. While steps were taken to prevent the flu, it’s that time of year, so faculty and students alike are bound to catch a variety of illnesses. It’s inevitable.
One way to keep from getting sick is to wash your hands! Simple illnesses such as the common cold or eye infections can easily be prevented by doing this nearly effortless act. Germs can spread in multiple ways. Some of the most common ways are from coughing, sneezing, or even breathing, which is why it is always important to cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough.
Germs can also be transferred from object to object. If you cover your mouth with your hand while you cough, germs can pass from your mouth onto your hand, and can then be transferred to whatever you may touch if you do not wash your hands.
“Avoid close contact with people who are sick,” says Tami Laursen, BVU’s director of health services & wellness.
Another way to be proactive and to keep from getting sick is to keep hand sanitizer in your bag. Along with that, avoid touching your eyes, mouth, nose and ears when you have not washed your hands. You can also prevent yourself from getting sick by not sharing cans, cups, silverware, bottles, or even food with other people.
“Eat a healthy diet rich in vitamin C and E including fresh fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Foods containing these vitamins are believed to be helpful in supporting the immune system. Foods rich in vitamin E include sunflower and corn oils, sunflower seeds, and nuts such as almonds and peanuts. You can get your daily vitamin C from foods like orange juice, citrus fruits, broccoli and green peppers. Make an effort to reduce your intake of concentrated sugar because excessive sugar impairs the immune response,” Laursen adds.
With the weather changing, it is also important to bundle up appropriately when going outside. Being outside in cold weather or walking through snow without being dressed correctly can trigger your body’s response to perspire. When sweat dries into the air it can chill your body and lower your immune system, making it more likely for you to get sick.
Germs from illnesses can also be spread from saliva and sweat as well. BVU prioritizes athletics almost as much as it prioritizes academics. A large population of students use the gym facilities, and during this time of year it is more important than ever to clean equipment before and after use.
“Exercise regularly. Not only can regular exercise lower stress, but research indicates that exercise can stimulate the immune system and promote healthy sleep,” Laursen advises.
However, if you do become sick there are things you can do to make yourself feel better. One thing is to make sure you get at least eight hours of sleep every day. Another is to drink plenty of water.
If your throat hurts, try cough drops. You can also drink honey tea to help with sore throats. When you don’t have the option to stay in bed and are not feeling well, Dayquil is something that can help you get through your day of classes. If you feel bad enough to not go to class, you should seek medical attention from Health Services, especially when you have cold or flu symptoms.
If you end up diagnosed with the flu, Health Services can assist you with self-isolation in your room. If you live within a reasonable distance from BVU, you should go home and recover to prevent others from getting sick.
“It is no wonder that college students are highly susceptible to colds, the flu, and other communicable illnesses! It is so important to make good choices and live a healthy lifestyle to stay well and do well in college!” Laursen concludes.