Today: Jul 17, 2024

Surviving the common cold and cough

Mackenzie Hurlburt – Copy Editor

It’s officially here: that season of sniffling students and cough drop packed pockets. As the cold weather starts to swing in unseasonably early, voices are muted or roughened and noses are blistered by cheap tissues. I’ve suffered with a sore throat, runny nose and headache for about a week now, and I’m starting to get sick of chugging orange juice, bathing in hand sanitizer and smelling like menthol. College and colds don’t match up well; that stuffed-up head or scratchy throat provides just another excuse not to go to class. And while Southern’s cold-ridden campus faces the onset of the upcoming flu season, there are some things we as a community can do to stay healthy.

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Stay healthy this semester by washing your hands after sneezing.

I know we’ve been told to wash our hands since toddlers, but believe it or not, some people do not partake in this habit which is so beneficial to your health. A survey conducted through the Livestrong foundation found that only 64 to 75% of women wash their hands after using the bathroom, while the percentage for guys drops even lower to 30 to 51%. Gross, huh? I mean it totally changes your outlook on sharing your book or lending a pen to your neighbor in class. Along with being a healthy habit, hand washing also lowers the risk of diarrhea and intestinal problems, eye infection and respiratory infection. Hand sanitizer provides an on-the-go alternative and is just as effective if done properly.

“Drink more OJ” is my mom’s motto when it comes to preventing or recuperating from a cold. According to the the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, drinking two glasses of orange juice a day can raise your vitamin C levels by 40 to 64%. Why is vitamin C so important? Vitamin C is an antioxidant which facilitates your body’s protection from pollutants. While it is not the cure for a cold, vitamin C does build up your immune system. It lowers your risk of cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems and wrinkles, while also improving eye health. That orange juice is more beneficial than you thought, huh? Of course students can consume vitamin C in other forms, such as chewable tablets, Halls drops, cantaloupe, broccoli, and kiwis. Vitamin C is usually provided within a healthy diet—that is, one which chooses fruit or vegetables over a quick fix from the vending machine. So keep that in mind when contemplating your next snack.

I admit, I’m a hypocrite when it comes to getting the adequate amount of sleep. I regularly preach how important it is to get a full seven to nine hours a night yet I continually starve myself of sleep. That’s probably the reason why I’m so sick right now. So lesson learned. However, I will once again be a hypocrite and drill this point further: proper sleep promotes health, so do as I say and not as I do.

This flu season may be a scary experience for some, who are for the first time sick and stranded away from mommy’s medicine cabinet. While Granoff Hall Health Center is close by with nurses and a physician, there are still certain things students can purchase to be prepared and stocked for any oncoming colds. I’ve titled it the “college cold and sickness survival kit” and my version includes: cough drops, Pepto-Bismol, Ibuprofen, Dayquil, Nyquil, Alka-Seltzer Cold and Sinus, cough syrup, plenty of soft tissues and soup. My advice to those who aren’t armed and ready for the upcoming flu season is to stock up and create your own survival kit. You might not need it, but if you end up with a cold, at least you’ll know you have some ammo backed up to beat it.

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