Surviving the Laurier Plague: Cold and Flu Prevention 101

It’s that time of year again. No, not just for Homecoming or pumpkin spice lattes. It’s Cold and Flu season, or more commonly known here at university as the “Laurier Plague.” Being in such close proximity to others in classes, residence buildings and parties means that it’s quite easy for sickness to spread. With midterms right around the corner, it’s essential for students to take good care of themselves. Here are five easy steps I've learned to help prevent sickness.

1. Plenty of vitamins

The best vitamins for preventing colds are Vitamin C, Zinc, probiotics, and Echinacea. You could also take a multivitamin to help with your overall health. If you are like me and hate swallowing pills, fortified teas are the next best option. Teas enhanced with Zinc or Vitamin C work best and can be found at your typical grocery store.

2. Balanced diet

I know how difficult it is to eat healthy when living away from home. Fruits and vegetables can be expensive and boring. Unfortunately, diet really contributes to overall health. Fruits and vegetables are high in essential vitamins and minerals which support a healthy immune system. I find the easiest way to eat enough greens is to buy frozen fruits and veggies or small salad kits. You don’t have to worry about the frozen food going bad, while the salad kits are simple and typically cheaper than buying all the separate ingredients.

3. Sleep!

I know it’s often difficult to find time to get a good night’s sleep in between all the study sessions and late-night coffee runs. Apparently, those who sleep for six-eight hours each night show higher resistance to viruses than those who sleep less. If you do get sick, sleeping it off works wonders, but make sure you plan around your naps so you can still finish your assignments.

4. Light exercise or activity

Not only does exercise reduce stress, it also contributes to a healthier immune system. And no, light exercise does not mean you suddenly have to hit the gym three times a week. As long as you take 10-20 minutes a day to go for a walk, do some yoga, pushups, or whatever works to get your blood pumping you will be set.

5. Try to stay germ-free

Finally, and most importantly, wash your hands! Don’t go to class touching desks and doors and then go touching your face or eyes. Classrooms and hallways are germ infected, so always keep hand sanitizer on your person. I mean, just imagine how many people must have coughed or sneezed and then touched the door. Remember to wash your hands consistently!

With these five tips, a positive attitude and some luck, you'll be able to avoid this year's Laurier Plague!