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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

The do’s and don’ts of personal health

Sam Veremchuk collapses over his schoolwork.
Sam Veremchuk collapses over his schoolwork.

By: Elizabeth Terrell, Contributing Writer

“Have you found it difficult to go to class and do your work while you’ve been sick?” I asked my interviewee.

“Yes,” sophomore Hailey Gardner said, as she coughed up what was left of her lungs. “This weather has really sent my body for a spin.”

As soon as the words left her lips, she remembered an English assignment that was due the next day and miraculously jumped up from her would-be death bed.

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“Gotta go,” were her last feeble words as she hobbled out the door toward the library.

Several students, like Gardner, have been feeling the effects of the fluctuating weather this semester, especially as we approach the winter season. This rise in illness unfortunately coincides with those foreboding final exams that are coming up soon. So how do we combat physical illness during the most stressful time of the fall semester?

Nurse Practitioner Tammy Gilliam says, “Most of what we see in here is students not eating right, sleeping right or staying hydrated enough. These seem like really simple things, but they actually make a big difference. Rapid temperature changes also weaken your immune system, and so it is crucial that students are taking the utmost care of their bodies. Mental or emotional stress does similar damage to the body’s health and ability to fight off sickness.”

With this in mind, here are some helpful tips for students to fight off sickness and still be able to go to classes and do their work:

  1. Drink a lot of water. The average amount of water that a human needs to consume is about half a gallon per day. The best way to achieve this amount is to substitute sodas or coffee for water at each meal or before class. Although coffee or soda tastes better and gives you that boost of caffeine in the morning, your body will feel much better if you drink water instead.
  1. Write a schedule for your day in the morning or even the night before. This may seem unrelated to your physical health, but if you have a set plan of what you would like to get accomplished as far as school and other things go, it’s more likely that you will get to sleep at a reasonable hour.
  1. This brings me to Tip #3. Try to stay on a balanced sleep schedule. It’s hard to get that recommended seven to eight hours of sleep every night with schoolwork and other priorities. However, if you find yourself in bed at 10:00 or even 11:00 at night with nothing left to do, go to sleep. You may feel tempted to stay up and Netflix the night away until you can barely keep your eyelids open, but do not do this. You will wake up with that early morning Netflix hangover and regret it.
  1. Try to get your daily dose of Vitamin C. Zach’s doesn’t always offer food that’s enriched with vitamins and body-nourishing vegetables. However, if you can manage to grab an apple instead of chips for your side at lunch, your body will thank you. Vitamin C pills are also a fairly inexpensive way to maintain the daily recommended dosage.
  1. Listen to your body. If every fiber and molecule in your being is telling you not to go to that Art History class at eight-thirty in the morning (sleepiness does not count), and you know you can make up the notes, then miss the class and focus on recovering. It is more important that you get better than to try to go to all of your classes. Doing this could cause your body to get even sicker as you will expose yourself to more germs. This will cause you to miss even more classes in the long run.
  1. In reference to #5, wash your hands. Bring with you at least a full gallon of hand sanitizer everywhere you go. Well, not a full gallon. But do use hand sanitizer, particularly before eating. It seems silly and somewhat obvious, but it will help prevent the spread of germs to your body.
  1. If your stomach is feeling upset, at this point, you should drink a soda to settle it. The carbonation will help. Also avoid any and all dairy products (this includes the cream in your daily caramel double shot lattes).
  1. Dress according to the weather. Wear clothes that would be comfortable to wear if it’s less than 40 degrees outside or if it’s pouring rain. Bring an umbrella if you think it’s going to rain. Simple, right?
  1. If you’ve been battling a headache all day and the Ibuprofen isn’t working, put a warm cloth on your head after classes and keep your eyes away from harsh light. These harsh lights can come from bright computer screens, fluorescent ceiling lights or strobe lights accompanied with loud thumping music. Do your work somewhere comfortable where you can relax and feel less tense. Stress can very easily lead to headaches, so doing things to relieve your stress will usually keep those headaches away.
  1. Go to health services if you’re feeling ill. Yes, the Lord of the Rings-esque walk to that building alone is enough to deter people from going and, quite frankly, seems useless since they rarely give you a written excuse unless you’re missing a limb. At the very least, though, they can prescribe some medicine to help get you back on track and give you some more tips on how to take care of your body.

 

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