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Here's to Your Health!

Here's to Your Health!

June 05, 2007

Remember when you were little, and you would wake up one morning — your head was heavy and your body felt hot? Your mom would send you to school anyway, but you’d call her as soon as you got there and she’d end up having to leave work and pick you up from the nurse’s office. She’d feel bad she sent you to school when you were legitimately sick, so she’d buy you a case of Juicy Juice, a box of popsicles, a bottle of ginger ale and a few cans of chicken soup.

I miss those days when I was little, when I’d have mom come in to my room to take care of me. Now, at age 21, I need to gauge for myself when I’m not feeling so great. There are no parents to pick you up from college, do your medicine shopping, and then pour you hot ginger ale as they come into your dark room to check your forehead.

If you couldn’t tell, I’m sick. I finally got that dreaded seasonal cold that begins with a sore throat and pretty soon, your nose is raw and red from the mass amount of tissues.

I thought I got away with it for the season. I always get sick when the seasons change, and I’ve felt this coming since mid-October around midterms week. When I’d feel that sore throat coming on, I’d pop some DayQuil and down a few immunity defense bottles of Tropicana.

Third time is a charm, I guess, because the cold is here. I’m one of the last to get sick amongst my friends and residents. Here’s the thing with being in college: It’s a petri dish for sickness. Going to the gym, using communal bathrooms, and sharing a room can all lead down the path to a cold. Here are some tips for staying healthy in college:

During midterms and finals week, you’re usually stressed out, pulling all-nighters, drinking a lot of coffee and not eating well. That has been my past week, which is a dead giveaway as to why I have a cold. Recognize that you are more prone to catch a cold during these stressful times, especially since your defense system will be down from the lack of sleep and nutrients.

If you go to the gym, always take a shower when you get back. Think about the sweaty bodies that are all over those machines, and then think of bringing those same bodies back in bed with you — gross right? Showering off all the sweat won’t only prevent breakouts, but will also leave you less susceptible to germs.

If your roommate has a cold or is sick, don’t be afraid to Lysol the doorknob and spray the air. Sharing a small room with a sick person is never fun, so get outside as much as possible. You’ll be letting him or her rest and at the same time removing yourself from the germy air.

Don’t forget what mom said: Drink plenty of fluids and get lots of rest. Rest and college don’t often go hand-in-hand, but try to nap during the day or go to bed early. It’s amazing what a full night’s sleep can do for you.

And of course, your school should have a wellness center or health clinic which usually offers free visits and also writes prescriptions for antibiotics. Take advantage of that, too. They may not bring you ginger ale and popsicles, but they will take your temperature and tell you to get some rest.

Be well and stay well!

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