Today: Jul 16, 2024

Health Center offers seasonal tips and tricks

MONICA SZAKACS
News Writer
As winter storms and statewide warnings and advisories have already made an impact this season, Diane Morgenthaler, Granoff Health Center director, gives suggestions as to what students should do to stay healthy.

“In order to stay healthy,” said Morgenthaler, “the old rules still apply–eat healthy, get enough rest, keep hydrated, and wash your hands often.”

Morgenthaler said during cold conditions, people are more likely to go inside for warmth where they are exposed to others harboring germs, such as cold and flu viruses. A stressor to the immune system, according to Morgenthaler, may be found in more extreme cold that actually lowers the body temperature, such as hypothermia.

“The degree of cold temperature that a person is exposed to in the normal course of the day does not weaken the immune system,” said Morgenthaler. “You catch germs from other people, not from being in the cold, so if you don’t want to catch the flu, get the flu shot.”

Kyle Pettinelli, junior psychology major, said this winter season he will try not to stay out in the cold for long periods of time during the night, and wear proper snow gear when he is outside having fun in the snow. Although Pettinelli said he will dress warm, he also said he knows the cold is not what gets him sick.

“Being out in the cold just gets me cold, not sick,” said Pettinelli. “When germs, viruses, and bacteria enter my body I become sick and this occurs more often in winter, when people are inside where sicknesses can spread easy.”

Pettinelli said he will not be getting a flu shot this season, because he leaves all the flu fighting to his immune system for the practice. Morgenthaler said she still recommends the flu shots since the peak of flu season has not yet arrived. She said the vaccines are still available at Health Services, which includes H1N1, and only one shot is necessary.

To keep germs away, Pettinelli said he washes his hands often and keeps a distance from sick people. According to Pettinelli, staying healthy is important because he said when he feels good, he has a better time and a better experience during the day.

“Being healthy, exercising, eating healthy and being in touch with the wellness of my body is important overall in my life,” said Pettinelli.

Some students take supplements to help the immune system, said Pettinelli, rather than just eating healthy. Brigitte Stiles, associate director of Health Services for wellness programs, said three good healthy meals a day will help keep the immune system strong.

“Certainly kids can take multivitamins along with a meal and that would be fine,” said Stiles, “but if you eat healthy, you get most of the nutrients that you need for the day.”

Stiles said students can go to the Southern Wellness Center website for tips to keep colds and flu away, as well as tips to start and maintain a healthy lifestyle. The Wellness website is kept up-to-date, according to Stiles, and she said there are bulletin boards throughout the Health Services building.

“We update our bulletin boards monthly to keep up with what the current health trend is,” said Stiles.

Some extra tips listed on the website to keep from getting infected with a cold and flu are: Wipe off shared equipment, such as telephones and keyboards, between users with rubbing alcohol; avoid crowded areas with poor ventilation; wash hands for 20 seconds; avoid touching face with hands; and cough or sneeze into a tissue and not hands, then put used tissues into waste baskets.

Another resource that is available at Health Services is cold kits. Morgenthaler said the kit includes acetaminophen, throat lozenges, reusable thermometer, and has information on cold and flu symptoms and how to manage them.

According to Morganthaler, Health Services has already begun Student Health 101 this past fall semester. This is a monthly newsletter, said Morgenthaler, on health and wellness topics that are sent by e-mail to first-year students, as well as to anyone who has given Health Services their e-mail for this purpose.

“The information consists of topics that would be important that month,” said Morgenthaler. “It includes information on programs at SCSU through Health and Wellness, Counseling, Women’s Center, DARC, and the Fitness Center.”

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