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How to Beat Spring Sickness in 5 Simple Steps

You’re silently suffering in class, suppressing the overpowering urge to cough in a quiet, filled lecture hall. Your eyes are watering so badly that you look like you’re getting emotional about your professor’s lifeless lecture about photosynthesis. You’re sneezing so violently that people are playing “nose goes” for whoever has the unfortunate fate of sitting next to your sickly self. We can all relate…you’ve got spring fever…and not the fun kind Spongebob was glowing about. Being sick isn’t so sick.

Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to beat this spring sickness. With these quick tips, your spring quarter will be filled with more beach days and less sick days. Take it from me…my immune system is weaker than the economy.

1) You are what you eat. You’ve heard it a thousand times, but an apple a day keeps the doctor away. My dad only eats organic food and he hasn’t experienced the common cold or flu in three years. One thing I’ve also learned from my rad dad is that processed sugar weakens the immune system and lowers its ability to fight infection. According to Web MD (aka the ultimate enabler to my hypochondria), sugar weakens the immune system cells designed to fight disease-causing bacteria. Dad might look like an ultra-hippie walking around, shamelessly snacking on raw kale all day, but he has the immune system of a champion. Alternatively, load up on some vitamins and minerals with fruits and veggies. According to a 2003 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, “Increasing the consumption of fruit and vegetables, and whole grain is a practical strategy for consumers to optimize their health and to reduce the risk of chronic diseases.”

2) Stress less. Forget about the low-life loser that never called you back or that midterm you bombed forever and a half ago. Learn to change what you can’t accept and accept what you can’t change to simplify your life and reduce the stress. According to Harvard Health, “A research team from Ohio State University that has long worked in this field suggests that psychological stress affects the immune system by disrupting communication between the nervous system, the endocrine (hormonal) system, and the immune system.” Chill.

3) Be pro-probiotic. Bacteria seems to have a bad connotation, but don’t let its reputation fool you. There are good-guy bacteria out there that does a body good. Consider popping a probiotic. Now researchers, including some at Harvard Medical School, are “finding evidence of a relationship between such ‘good’ bacteria and the immune system.” Harvard Medical School recommends taking a probiotic to keep the good bacteria in your gut chuggin’ along. You can purchase some probiotics at health stores or even your local grocery store.

4) Say na-na to knobs. My friend’s mom is a nurse and before we all bounced to college, she said “if you listen to one thing I say, never touch door knobs. That’s the secret to never getting sick.” Scientists at the University of Virginia, long known for its virology research, tested surfaces in the homes of people with colds and found that door knobs and remotes are the hot spots for germs. This may sound strange (because it is), but I turn door knobs while holding my shirt so I don’t actually make contact with it. Think about the number of nasty germs are just hanging out on door knobs with the countless people that touch them everyday. If I’m home, I also have the remarkable hidden talent to grip the door knob with my toes and open it in that manner, but not everyone can be an olympian like me. I also clean my dorm room door knob and bathroom door knob daily with green all-purpose cleaner for some peace of mind.

5) Get a handle on your hands. Your sickness if getting out of hand. Your micromanaging mom and kindergarten teacher have been preaching this point for your entire life, and with good reason. You’d think this would be relatively obvious, but wash your hands always. We’ve all been scarred for life by watching someone shamelessly exit a public restroom without even making a half-ass effort to wash their hands as you silently judge them. If you have not experienced this, you are that person,….gotta hand it to you. Some handy tips (once again, pun absolutely intended) for purifying your palms are to wash your hands with warm water (warmer water kills more disease-causing bacteria) and make sure to dry your hands well. “Damp hands are far more likely to spread bacteria than dry ones,” says Dana Simpler, MD, a primary care physician at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. Listen and your health will be in good hands.

So there you have it. Next time you want to skip the small stuff, imagine yourself trapped in your little cold cocoon, surrounded by tissues, cough drops, and bitterness while all of your friends are snapchatting you from Avila. Five simple steps can give you some peace of mind and make sure you’re back on your grind in no time.

Photo by Allison Royal


Allison Royal is a journalism student at Cal Poly SLO. The Lorde song "Royals" is actually based on her life. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Allison classifies herself as a ghetto rap enthusiast who enjoys frequent adventures throughout SLO, sunny weather, making additional SLO puns, floral print clothing, acai bowls, and throwback Thursdays. She hopes to write in some capacity and change the world. " I wasn't born into this world ... maybe I could write myself into it." - Dan Humphrey
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