When you sleep just a few feet away from someone and use the same sink, shower, and towels, it’s hard to avoid picking up germs in your dorm room. And let’s not even think about all the viruses that linger on the classroom desks you use every day. But with cases of the flu and other nasty illnesses on the rise this year, you should take measures to keep yourself healthy as best as you can if you don’t want to end up missing important classes.
Stay Focused and Healthy with these Wellness Tips
Follow these wellness tips to keep yourself healthy as long as possible.
Get a Flu Shot
Not all sick people you’ll encounter on campus have the flu. But The Wisconsin Academy of Family Physicians says Wisconsin is experiencing increasing influenza activity, with 90% of detections being Influenza A. Since September 1, there have been 457 influenza-related hospitalizations compared to only 103 hospitalizations last year at this time. Nearly half of this year’s patients said they had been in contact with someone who was sick 1 to 3 days before they became ill.
The moral of the story: Protect yourself by getting vaccinated.
Know the Symptoms to Look For
If your roommate or another close friend starts to complain of flu-like symptoms, run like the wind. Influenza symptoms usually come on suddenly and include fever, headache, tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, nasal congestion and body aches.
If you start to recognize these symptoms in yourself, or you can just tell you’re getting sick, head to the campus clinic. Getting an early diagnosis and treatment plan may shorten your illness and allow you to get back to classes sooner.
Keep Germs at Bay with Good Hygiene
One of the best health tips for college students is to wash your hands constantly. After you use the restroom, after touching all over a desk someone else has used, after using equipment at the gym, and especially before you eat. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services says following these proper handwashing techniques can significantly reduce the spread of infections diseases.
- Wet hands with warm running water.
- Lather the front and back of hands with soap and rub for 20 seconds. Make sure to wash between fingers and under fingernails.
- Rinse hands well under warm running water.
- Use a clean, dry paper towel or put hands under air dryer. Do NOT use a community hand towel, which could be crawling with germs.
If no running water is available nearby, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that doesn’t require rinsing. Let it dry on your hands, which takes about 30 seconds.
Build a Strong Immune System
Of all the wellness tips out there, keeping yourself healthy from the start is the best. To maintain a strong immune system that blocks viruses from entering your body, you have to make each of these a part of your daily routine:
- A healthy diet. Foods high in antioxidants are amazing for keeping you healthy. Aim for fruits and veggies high in beta-carotene like apricots, cantaloupe, carrots and spinach; vitamin C like berries, oranges, and tomatoes; and vitamin E like avocados, mangoes, and red peppers.
- Exercise. Research shows that physical activity may help flush bacteria out of the airways, reducing your chance of catching an illness. Exercise also causes a brief rise in body temperature that may prevent bacteria from growing and slows down the release of stress hormones that can increase chances of getting sick.
- Plenty of sleep. Yes, we realize we’re supposed to be giving health tips to college students who are usually up late partying or studying for tests. If you want to do well in school and avoid going to the campus clinic week after week, you have to get at least 7 hours of sleep at night. During sleep is when infection-fighting antibodies and cells are produced, so lack of sleep increases your chances of acquiring an infectious disease.
Stay Healthy With a Better Night’s Sleep!
If you haven’t been able to sleep because of an uncomfortable old dorm mattress, you’re putting your immune system at risk. DormTopper is a plush, comfy, CLEAN mattress topper that can keep you from tossing and turning and help you sleep longer at night. Check out DormTopper now and discover how great you feel after a good night’s sleep.
Download your FREE copy to learn more about the overlapping impact of sleep and academic success: From Zs to As: A Guide to Better Sleep and Better Grades.