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7 Tips for Staying Healthy This Winter

Cold and flu season is here once again and as everyone is back in closed quarters between class and dorm life, sickness is running rampant. Follow these tips to keep yourself healthy this semester!

Wash Your Hands

Germs live on many surfaces and find a way into your body through physical contact. Washing your hands is a great way to kill the bacteria that make you sick. This becomes especially important after riding public transportation, moving from one environment to another, after being in a crowded lecture hall, and before eating or preparing food.

Don’t Touch Your Face

Dermatologists advise not to touch your face to avoid acne flare-ups and to prevent the germs living on your hands from making you sick. Illnesses are easily transmitted through mucous membranes (such as your eyes, mouth, and nose).

Avoid Sick People

This may be tricky when you’re forced to sit in crowded lectures every day, but try to avoid sitting near people who are constantly coughing and sneezing. Choose an aisle seat so you have some room to breathe and disinfect your desk and chair before you sit down. Wipe down gym equipment before use too!

Catch Some Zzzz’s

A lack of sleep increases your risk for catching a cold because it lowers your immune system. This is because the more sleep you get, the greater levels of disease-fighting white blood cells you produce.

Skip Your Workout

If you feel like you’re coming down with something, it’s better to take a rest day than to put yourself through strenuous exercise. Your body needs all of its extra resources to fight off a cold or flu so save your energy.

Clean Up Your Diet

Making sure your body has all of the nutrients it needs is one of the best ways to ensure that your body is in working order and can fend off bacteria and viruses efficiently. Trade in the junk food for plenty of fruits and veggies. It is especially important to fuel yourself properly if you’re physically active. Your immune system is weakened after exercise and to build it up again you need to eat enough food and the right food. So don’t restrict your calories too much if you’re trying to lose weight.

Take Your Vitamins

You probably know the connection between Vitamin C and immunity, but little is often said about Vitamin D. Without sufficient intake of the vitamin, the immune system’s killer cells do not function as well as they should to fight off infection. This is especially important during the winter in the Northeast, where the sun isn’t as strong.

Stay healthy, Collegiettes! 

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Sarah Campisi

U Mass Amherst

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