By Hallie Lauer | Layout Editor
As the days get shorter and the weather gets colder, it once again becomes that time of the year where everyone in your lecture is coughing or sneezing or sniffling. In these tough times, many of us take to the internet to figure out how to prevent the inevitable cold that the changing of the season brings. Well, look no further than this list, as The Duke has you covered with ways you can boost your immune system and stay healthy.
1. Wash Your Hands
The number one way to try to prevent getting sick is to wash your hands often. If you can’t always get to a sink, some good, old-fashioned hand sanitizer can be your best friend. As long as it is alcohol based, it will also kill any cold and flu germs on your hands. However, soap and hot water are always your best options.
2. Clean Your Room
Another tip is to keep your surroundings clean. (I know, easier said than done.) So that dirty cereal bowl sitting on your desk for three weeks? Wash it. Not only will your roommate thank you, but you will prevent cold and flu germs from breeding and spreading. Clorox wipes will also be your best friend. Use them on doorknobs and sink handles to take the cleanliness one step further.
3. Get Outside
If your roommate is the messy one, lucky for you, another immune system booster is getting fresh air. This is also helpful if your roommate is already sick. Getting outside, away from where all those germs are trapped, will help prevent you from getting sick. So not only will you get away from all the germs trapped inside your dorm, if you go for a walk outside, you also get the health benefits of light exercise.
Going along with getting outside, regular exercise does wonders for your body by keeping you healthy in many ways. This doesn’t mean you have to head to the Power Center and bust out eight miles on the treadmill. Just a leisurely stroll around campus will do the trick. For some people, this is also a great way to relax and destress.
5. Eat Healthy
Eat your fruits and veggies! Giving your body the proper nutrition will help to keep a strong immune system, making it less likely for you to get sick.
Notice: Supplements, such as Emergen-C, that claim to be immune-boosting are actually just vitamin C packets – which has no scientific evidence of preventing the common cold. So save your money and just eat an orange.
6. Drink Plenty of Water
Along with making sure you’re eating right, maintaining proper hydration is just as important. When you’re dehydrated, you are more likely to feel run down and tired, and so is your immune system.
7. Rest Up
Another thing that’s easier said than done, especially in college, is getting the proper amount of sleep. When your body is sleep deprived, you are more likely to get sick because your immune system is not working at full capacity, so be sure to get 6 to 8 hours of shut-eye each night.
8. Get Your Flu Shot
One incredibly easy and common way to prevent yourself from getting the flu is getting a flu shot! This can be done at any local drugstore for a rather inexpensive price. Health Services also holds a flu clinic where you can get your flu shot done on campus.
People who are more stressed tend to get sick more easily. Stress suppresses the immune system, which makes it harder to fight off a cold. So although midterms are just around the corner, find some time to relax and unwind. Your body and your mind will thank you.
10. Treat Your Symptoms
If you do end up getting sick despite these tips, treat your symptoms with cold medicine, and continue to get plenty of rest and fluids. Health Services on the second floor of the Student Union can also be very helpful when you get sick. They can do evaluations of your illness and prescribe treatment for whatever may ail you.