Cold Weather Combat: Staying Healthy on Campus

By Jessica Willner
SC Staff Writer

It happens to all of us: The friend you normally don’t mind sitting close to in class now has a hacking cough.

You can almost feel the germs invading your immune system.

With temperatures dropping, stress levels rising, and viruses to be found on every surface, ESU students are becoming increasingly susceptible to getting sick.

Students who feel overwhelmed by school and social pressures often forget the importance of their health. However, illness brought on by this negligence may slow down students’ productivity in the long run.

Although you may be unable to escape exposure to viruses and bacteria, there are methods to protect yourself and others and to ensure a quicker recovery if you do happen to become sick.

The American College of Sports Medicine suggests doing cardio exercise to boost immunity for 30 minutes, at least five times each week. This could include a variety of activities, such as running, swimming, biking, and dancing.

Not only does moderate exercise fend off illnesses, but it also helps reduce stress and provides essential energy students need to power through classes and schoolwork.

In addition to cardio, the deep-breathing aspects of yoga can also lead to a deep relaxation.

An adequate amount of quality sleep is also a major factor in preventing sickness and maintaining health during your college years.

David Rosenthal of Harvard University suggests at least six to eight hours per night.

College students often have trouble logging eight hours of sleep because they stay up late in attempt to lighten their workload.

They also can have partying habits and noisy roommates keeping them up. Besides learning to manage their time, students should set agreements with their roommates about quiet hours to assure healthy sleep habits.

WebMD advises that half of your plate at each meal should be made up of fruits and vegetables to ensure that you are getting necessary nutrients to maintain the health of your immune system.

“Fruits and veggies are bursting with phytonutrients that help keep infection and disease at bay,” says Rosenthal.

In addition to eating a balanced diet, students should remember to stay hydrated even in the colder months.

WebMD states that dehydration can lead students to become “vulnerable to illness and infections.”

Despite taking precautions, students regularly come down with colds and stomach viruses, and also sometimes more serious ailments, like mononucleosis, bronchitis, pneumonia, or the dreaded flu.

These illnesses can keep students sidelined for weeks or longer.

They should be taken seriously at their first signs so that they can be properly treated.

Fortunately, ESU’s Health Center is available to all ESU students (including commuters).

The center provides a variety of evaluations and treatments that range from physical exams to Tuberculosis testing. Most of the services provided are free, but students should have funds on their E-cards to cover any additional costs.

Students can also pick up a cold and flu packet at the Health Center filled with cough drops, salt rinse and ibuprofen to help ease discomfort without any need for an appointment with a doctor.

The Health Center is located in the Flagler-Metzgar building and is open Monday and Tuesday from 8 AM to 6:30 PM and Wednesday through Friday from 8 AM to 4:30 PM.
Students are encouraged to contact the University Police at 570-422-2000 in the case of a medical emergency.  They will kindly drive you to the hospital.

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