Ahh-Choo! Excuse me… I think we can all agree that getting sick is inconvenient, but getting sick during the semester is even more so. Missing classes to get over a cold or, worse, the flu can have a serious impact on your class performance and progress. Sadly, the spring semester is ripe with all sorts of infectious bacteria. Yuck!
However, if you take the proper precautions to stay healthy, you’ll have a better chance of fighting off sickness before, or when, it strikes. So, grab some sterile gloves, pop in a lozenge, and refresh yourself on some good tips for staying healthy.
Wash your hands
You use your hands for practically everything you do and they’re always coming in contact with bacteria – pretty disgusting, I know – so like mother always said, “Don’t forget to wash your hands.” I’m not talking about splashing some water on your hands. No. You should be thoroughly scrubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.
Too cool for bathroom sinks? I’d recommend buying a small bottle of hand sanitizer to carry around with you at all times. Drop by one of the MTSU P.O.D.s to pick up a pocket-sized hand sanitizer when you’re on campus, or by your local CVS or Target for some.
Staying hydrated is key to keeping your immune system healthy. Constant fluids flush out toxins in your body, so carry around a water bottle when you can. If you don’t have a water bottle, MTSU is fortunate enough to place filtered water fountains around campus, so you can get some hydration throughout the day.
Keep some tea bags on you, as well. I’ve found that peppermint tea is great for clearing up sinuses, ginger tea is great for reducing joint inflammation, and green tea is great for boosting the immune system. For a little over a dollar, the P.O.D.s on campus offer up hot water for tea!
Wear a medical mask
While it just may seem like a popular fashion statement in East Asian countries, wearing a medical mask can actually help prevent the spread and prevention of illnesses. If you’re concerned about what other people will think of you for wearing a mask all day, just know that you’re making an attempt to keep your body healthy and that’s all that should matter to you. Debra from History probably won’t even remember you wearing a mask in a few weeks. Want to make the mask still part of your outfit? Amazon has some nifty masks with designs on them.
Get more ZZZs
Getting seven to eight hours of sleep actually helps protect your immune system. I know it’s tempting to stay up late playing video games or watching those tasty cooking videos, but take care of yourself and actually get some good sleep. Your body will thank you immensely for getting those extra Z’s, especially with midterms right around the corner.
Eat healthy meals
I can hear the angry mob forming now…Put down those potato chips and reach for something healthier! Make a parfait with granola and yogurt (contains probiotics that boost the immune system). Mixing some honey into your tea can not only help soothe a sore throat but also helps speed up, and even prevent, recovery from infections. If you still want some potato chips, opt for some home-made sweet potato ones (also boosts the immune system).
Exercise (a bit)
It’s a sentiment we all hate, but, especially during this time of year, exercise is good for you. I’m not saying to exercise five days a week or train like you’re going to run a marathon – even a few days of light to moderate exercise can help boost your immune system. Plus, we get free access to the MTSU Campus Rec Center anyway, so why not take advantage of it? All it takes is a day or two out of the week to keep your body healthy.
Listen to your body
You know your body better than anyone else. If something doesn’t feel right, act on it. Don’t wait for the fever and body chills to let you know that something’s up. If you end up getting sick, take care of yourself. Stop by MTSU Health Services to make sure it’s nothing serious, email your teachers if you have to miss class, keep yourself hydrated, and certainly don’t forget to take medicine. Don’t have any medicine on hand? Drop by the MTSU Pharmacy for over-the-counter medicine or send your prescriptions to the pharmacy for easy pick-up. A speedy recovery is a good recovery.
Tabby Ragland and Maureen Nokes work at the MTSU Pharmacy and encourage students to take immediate care of themselves during this time of year.
“MTSU Health Clinic and Campus Pharmacy are currently seeing daily cases of influenza and strep throat. If you think you may be sick, please visit us in the Health and Wellness Center (Rec Center) to be evaluated. Students may make an appointment for the clinic online or call 615-898-2988. MTSU Health Clinic and Campus Pharmacy offers friendly, knowledgeable staff and timely service. We are a very convenient source to assist students with all of your health care needs. Stay healthy!”
It’s important to keep yourself as healthy as possible to avoid getting sick and to keep up with your assignments. Just taking a few extra precautions this time of year can benefit you in the long run.