Friday, November 4, 2011

Beat the cold: Staying healthy as the weather changes

Amanda Laborio
Marketing Intern

As the leaves begin to fall and the colder weather sneaks its way along your daily walk around campus, you may find yourself feeling a little under the weather. Add on the stress of midterms and finals and you have the recipe for a health disaster. Here are some quick, and easy, tips to help you sail through the changing seasons without catching a cold.

The first tip may be a tough one for you all-night studiers to wrap your heads around, but it’s essential to being a healthy and happy student. You need to sleep. The number of hours of sleep a person needs to function their best varies by individual, but in general The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults get seven to nine hours of sleep per night. As you sleep your body gets the chance to restore itself. Not getting enough sleep can lead to increased pain, weight gain, and may also impair your ability to think clearly. 

After you get the hang of catching some ZZZZZZ’s, try catching something else, like a football or basketball. You’ve probably guessed it, but tip number two is to exercise. Regular exercise can help improve your mood, give you an increased level of energy, and help control weight gain. Most importantly, exercising can help prevent heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, and certain types of cancer, according to the Mayo Clinic.  

If you’re heading outside to get your exercise, or even just to walk to your car, remember tip number three: dress warmly. This may not be pertinent everyday considering unpredictable Kentucky weather, but you should always be prepared. If there is a chill in the air, remember to grab your coat before you trek to class. Wearing warm clothes as the temperature starts dropping will help your body fight off colds and decrease your chance of having breathing problems. 

In addition to bundling up, tip number four is another way to keep germs at bay: wash your hands regularly.  As you go through your daily routine you undoubtedly encounter numerous surfaces many other people, and their germs, have come in contact with. Washing your hands regularly will ensure that you don’t pick up illnesses that others may be leaving behind, like the flu. 

Another way to prevent catching the flu is to get a flu shot. University Health Services offers the flu vaccination to students for $10 with your student ID. To set up an appointment, call UHS at (859) 323-2778. On a similar note, if you are feeling poorly, go to the clinic. You may be contagious and unknowingly spreading your illness to others. Also, if you have a condition that needs to be treated with medicine, going to the clinic will get you feeling better sooner.

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