By: Vivian Siu, Healthy Aggies Nutrition Intern
Can you believe it’s week 7 already? With the second wave of midterms, work, internships, and everything else in between, what could be the cherry on top? It’s the feeling that you’re about to catch a cold or even worse, the flu. For me, the last thing I’d want to do is rest since I know I’d fall behind. Well, what should you do then if you find yourself with a cold or the flu? Here are some tips to help you avoid getting sick or to help you recover!
- Get some rest and relax – lots of it.
As a busy college student, time is of the essence. Resting doesn’t always seem like a good use of time because that’s time that could be spent studying, working, or hanging out with friends. However, it’s important to allow your body to rest, in order to help it fight off any infections. Another benefit of resting is that you lessen the chances of passing your cold to someone else by decreasing the exposure rate to others. It’s important to relax as well, because stress can prolong the length of your illness and make you feel worse.
- Stay hydrated!
Most people believe that drinking more fluids “flushes out” the cold, but in actuality, it rebalances the electrolytes and blood volume in your body. When the body is dehydrated, the body doesn’t perform as well causing our blood to thicken. Which then makes the heart focus on improving blood circulation, instead of focusing on fighting the infection. In addition, drinking hot fluids can help soothe sore throats and congestion. Specifically, hot tea has natural bacteria-fighting compounds, and chicken soup contains an amino acid, cysteine, that is known to remedy nose congestion and persistent coughs. But if you’re looking for something more simple, just add lemon slices to your water!
- Wash your hands often.
As simple as this may sound, it makes a big difference. How often do you find yourself touching your eyes, mouth, and nose? Well, these are all openings for bacteria to get in which can cause you to get sick. Bacteria from your hands can also transfer to objects such as door handles which increases the risk of infecting other people.
- Eat nutrient-dense food.
If you’re like me, I tend to lose my appetite when I’m feeling sick. However, during times of sickness, it’s even more important to have enough nutrients so you provide your body with enough energy and resources to fight off the infection. Here are some foods that I incorporate into my diet when I’m feeling sick.
My personal favorite are citrus fruits because they’re so refreshing. Many people tend to go for vitamin C supplements when they’re feeling sick. However, fruits like oranges, kiwis, and lemons contain flavonoids, which can boost your immune system and speed up your recovery.
***Note, if you experience symptoms of an upset stomach, you might want to avoid citrus foods because the acidity can further irritate your stomach.
Put it on anything and everything! Personally, I’m not a fan of ginger tea because of the spicy burn that accompanies it. My go-to meal is chopping up the ginger and adding it into rice porridge. I swear-by this remedy because it instantly helps me breathe better. This is because ginger is a natural expectorant, meaning it can help break down and remove mucus; thus, it clears up your sinuses and helps you breathe better.
Everyone gets sick. But eating nutrient dense foods and being active can help prevent you from getting sick often and, along with plenty of rest, help you feel better faster. Another preventative measure is to get your seasonal flu shot. For UC Davis students, you can schedule an appointment to get your flu shot over at the Student Health and Wellness Center. For more information, visit their website here.