The Lakeland Mirror

How students can stay healthy during flu season

Mayce Bacon, Staff Reporter

Due to being a busy college student surrounded by all the sicknesses going around, staying healthy during this time of year can be tricky. Sherry Carstens, campus nurse, provided some tips on how college students can prevent becoming ill. They are as follows:

  • Sleep. You should be shooting for six to eight hours a night. Don’t stay up all night cramming; your brain will shut down and not retain the information. This may seem difficult with all that you have to do, but if you find ways to manage your time to get sleep, it will really be beneficial.
  • Eat better. Moderation is the key in all the things you enjoy. Good balance of protein, grains, dairy with hitting more of the fruits and veggies. Keep the caffeine and sugary stuff down. They will give you the quick burst of energy but it doesn’t last. Don’t skip meals; it throws off your metabolism. Breakfast should be eaten—even something simple like a granola bar, piece of bread and peanut butter or fruit. It’s hard to always find time for three meals a day but even snacking throughout the day is better than skipping whole meals.
  • Hand washing. Everything you touch someone else has touched and left their germs. Always wash your hands or sanitize hands before touching the face. Unless someone has coughed or sneezed directly in your face, this is the way the germs make their way into your system. So maybe purchase a mini hand sanitizer to keep in your backpack to keep your hands clean.
  • Relax. Take breaks often when studying: hang with friends, read a good fun book, keep a routine, take walks and get some fresh air, keep the stress levels down. Learn to recognize and manage stress in your life. Signs of stress include trouble sleeping, frequent headaches and stomach problems, being angry a lot and turning to food, drugs and alcohol to relieve stress. If you are having a hard time doing that, seek out someone to talk with; counselors and nurses are available on campus for free.
  • Exercise. Shoot for 30 minutes a day four to five days a week. Even breaking it down to three to 10 minute sessions is still helpful. Take advantage of the fitness center on campus or the yoga classes that are offered. It helps with sleep, helps to relax you, works out frustrations and stress.
  • Stay hydrated. Our body uses its own fluids to fight germs and flush them through our system, so keep it hydrated. Even if you dehydrate a small percent, you can feel the effects like being sluggish, headaches, having a lack of concentration, etc. Such an easy fix—drink lots of water. Carry a water bottle with you that you can refill between classes. This is an easy way to stay hydrated.

For more information, contact Carstens at [email protected] or stop by the nurse and counseling office in Brotz Hall.

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