By: LOREN VUKOVITS
At this time of year students can’t afford to get sick. It’s nearing the middle of the semester and students are buried in midterms, projects, clubs and not to mention out-of-school activities. We simply don’t have the time to get sick. Yet, against our wishes, flu season is upon us.
That’s right. We are currently at the peak of flu season. The flu, short for influenza, is a severely contagious infection of the respiratory passages. Symptoms of it include chills, fever, muscle aches, congestion and headaches. In other words, it’s not fun.
Not only is this the likeliest time for you to catch the flu, the drastic changes in weather aren’t helping anyone’s immune system either. Now is the time to really take care of yourself. Below are some of the best tips to keep yourself healthy during a time where everyone around you seems to be ill.
I’m sure you’ve heard this one before but please, please wash your hands. You truly don’t realize how many germs you come into contact with on a daily basis. Touching the areas on and around your face only increases your chance of getting sick from the flu as well as other illnesses. So, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth or wash your hands before doing so.
When you do have to sneeze or cough, do so courteously and cough into the elbow of your shirt sleeve or by using tissue. Wash your hands afterwards. You can never be too safe.
Avoid using friends’ and classmates’ things—cell phones, pens and pencils, drinks and lip balm just to name of few. Your friend might think it’s rude when you don’t let them use your cell, but you’re doing both of you a favor.
Make sure you are getting plenty of sleep. Your immune system is at it’s weakest when you don’t get enough rest. People who are not getting the full eight hours of sleep are four times more likely to get sick than the people who are getting enough rest, according to mercola.com.
Not only will sleep deprivation weaken your immune system but it will also lessen your response to flu vaccines. The weak immune system struggles to create antibodies to fight against bacteria.
If you do end up getting sick with the flu, stay home. Not only will it help you get healthy more quickly, it will also lessen the chance of people around you getting sick. Take antiviral drugs and rest. According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention these three drugs are recommended for the treatment of the flu this season: Oseltamivir, Zanamivir, and Peramivir. Stay home 24 hours after your fever has broken to be cautious.
Take care of yourself this flu season, Titans.