By: Esther Garcia, UC Davis Healthy Aggies Intern
As winter approaches, students are seen sneezing and coughing in class. There is no evidence on why students are more prone to get sick in the winter, compared to other seasons. We all tend to be inside more, where everyone comes in contact with the same things. It may be simply because viruses peak in the wintertime. However you get it, we all know there are many struggles that come an illness of any kind: skipped classes, missed (or late) assignments, and even missed exams. To help avoid an illness and the consequent academic nightmare, there are five tips below to minimize your risk of getting sick.
Wash Your Hands! – Everything is full of germs. The pencil that you shared, the notebook your friend let you borrow to study, and your desk – all have various good and bad germs. It is important to wash your hands each time you come in contact with an object. Make sure to wash your hands for at least 30 seconds:
- Before eating
- Before rubbing your eyes or nose
- After using the restroom
- After sneezing and coughing
- After shaking hands
Rest – Sleep is the last thing on a student’s mind, however; “all-nighters” are not be effective for infection control! The body needs rest to regenerate and fight any viruses it came in contact with. Students who get an adequate amount of sleep tend to have a better immune system than those who don’t. So, having a consistent sleeping schedule not only gets the body ready for your school day, but also for a healthy day!.
Eat a Balanced Diet – Having plenty of fruits and vegetables strengthens our immune system. The vitamins and minerals we get from fruit and vegetables provides ammunition to fight illness. Many of us tend not to eat many fruits and veggies during the winter; however, having at least 5 servings of vegetables and fruits can help our immune system utilize vitamins and minerals like Vit C and potassium work together to get the body stronger. Proteins like lean meats, legumes, and dairy is also important because the amino acids help the body create strong components of the immune system.
Physical Activity Staying active during the winter is difficult because most students want to remain in doors where it is cozy and warm; nonetheless, evidence has demonstrated that people who exercise year round tend to get less sick. Similar to eating a balanced diet, exercise helps the body get stronger for any viruses. If it’s too cold to go for a run try:
- Going to a gym
- Finding an exercise video
- Going for a walk around the library
- Taking an indoor exercise class
Stay Hydrated – During the winter, most of us opt out from consuming water and prefer to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea. As much as we enjoy the warm cup of liquids, theses type of beverages tend to dehydrate us. Water is important for staying hydrated and transporting all of the vitamins to the site of absorption.
Considering these tips will not only help you get through a healthy school year, it will help many others too! Always remember, clean hands and a healthy balanced lifestyle will help keep you free of infection by viruses and bacterial.