There’s no way around it; college students are one of the highest risk populations to get sick year in and year out. And with their relentless schedules and hectic lifestyles they are also the population with the most to lose when they do go out of commission due to illness.
So this flu season, be a part of the solution and try and avoid getting sick altogether. How do you do that? Develop a routine that promotes wellness and activity rather than stagnancy, and also pay attention to the little things that can be the difference between catching a virus or avoiding it. Here are some of HealthyU’s top habits that will strengthen your immunity and contribute to a healthier you this flu season and beyond.
Do the big three
Diet, exercise, and rest. They’re the core of a healthy body and mind, but are often the hardest things to do consistently. Rather than tell yourself you’ll simply do these three things, set specific goals for each day like drinking 8 glasses of water, jogging for 20 minutes, and getting to bed at a certain hour. Though it may not always seem like you have time to do these things, just think about all the time you’ll save by strengthening your immunity and not getting sick.
Many students forego the flu shot because they mistake the flu as simply a glorified cold. However, anyone who has actually had the influenza virus will tell you that it’s an entirely different animal. Unlike a cold, the flu will put you totally out of commission, making you fatigued rather than just tired, and turning everyday chores into near-impossible tasks. So do yourself a favor, take the flu seriously and get yourself a flu shot, as well as any other immunizations you can.
Be on the lookout
Being cautious about what germs may or may not be around you doesn’t mean you have to walk around in a hazmat suit. But it does mean a part of you should always be thinking “what could I do to be healthy right now?” That means not sharing drinks or utensils with others, washing your hands and surroundings, and covering up when you cough.
Don’t ignore the symptoms
Beyond living stressful lives, college students are at risk for more diseases, like meningitis, than most because the increased time they spend on crammed busses, in packed classrooms, or at bustling workplaces. This makes it that more important to address symptoms you contract. If they’re cold symptoms, treat them. If they’re intense symptoms you’ve never felt before, visit a health center. Either way, never be afraid to address your feelings and even sit a day or two out to avoid spreading them.
An illness can come on in no time. So whether you’re prone to getting sick or not, it’s a good idea to have a few things prepared in the event that you do get sick. This includes medication, tissues, as well as resources to make sure you don’t fall behind in your classes. Make sure you have a way of readily contacting professors and one or two fellow students to stay up to date in classes and avoid letting illness affect your grades.