Quick tips to stay healthy this cold and flu season


Airman 1st Class Destinee Sweeney

Prevent yourself from getting the flu by eating healthy. Illustration by Destinee Sweeney.

Brooke Salamone

Picture this: you are commuting to your internship on a rainy Monday morning. You take a seat on the A train and pull out your book to make the morning commute a little less painful. The doors open and someone sits down with a full box of tissues. They will not stop sneezing, coughing and blowing their nose; they are even dropping tissues onto the subway floor. Left, right, up, down and all around there are no more seats in the cart.

Believe it or not, many University students may not have to picture this scenario because they experience similar ones each day on their commutes during the cold and flu season. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, most flu-like activity peaks between December and February, although it can last as late as May. University students must be extra careful especially with the concerns regarding COVID-19 and stay as healthy as possible.

As active students on the go, it is important for them to be on top of their health. Below is a  short list of tips to help promote health both on and off-campus this cold and flu season. While some tips may seem obvious, it is important to practice repetition in order to keep the body in a natural health routine.

Constantly wash your hands

Clean hands are important for maintaining a healthy environment. As University students are always touching door handles and subway poles, it is important to keep in mind that germs spread easily through contact.

Be sure to wash your hands as many times a day. Even keeping a small bottle of hand sanitizer to share with friends and classmates is smart. The University also provides many hand sanitizer stations across campus for the free use of students.

Stay hydrated

Drink lots of water because in this case, the more the merrier. According to The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, on average men should drink about 15.5 cups of fluids daily and women should drink about 11.5 cups of fluids daily. When feeling under the weather, it is especially important to keep drinking fluids.

Sports drinks, such as Gatorade, are also a great alternative to water as there are many electrolytes to help keep hydrated and healthy.

Take small breaks throughout the day

The extra oxygen and activity are helpful in preventing sickness. It is also just a great way to get out of your normal routine whether that be school, work, or more. The less you are crowded in a room all day long the better. For University students who are working remotely due to COVID-19 shutdowns, they should carefully plan out their day to ensure they are not sitting in the same place for too long. It may be a good idea to go for a brief walk outside and catch some fresh air.

“When it comes to being a college student on campus and having a busy schedule, the last thing I tend to think about is the amount of sleep I need and my mental health,” shares University senior Kate O’Brien. “ It’s important to realize when you are doing too much and need to take a step back to focus on yourself and that you need to rest. Although your schedule may be busy, you need to put yourself first.

Wash your coffee/water mug regularly and clean your personal belongings 

A key way to keep germs out is to keep up on cleaning travel cups as well as everyday objects used at home or work. The items used every day contain the most germs. Being sure to clean mugs and travel bottles every day when feeling sick as well as wiping down your personal belongings with disinfectant.

In addition, constantly clean those reusable utensils. When feeling sick, maybe use a disposable option instead.

Supplement at breakfast, lunch and dinner

Take a Vitamin C or D capsule to help immune health. Add some Omega-3 fish oil to your meal.

The University offers flex dollars for students at the CVS location on Fulton Street. Take advantage of this and go grab yourself some vitamins to take every morning before beginning the day.

Prevent yourself from getting the flu by eating healthy. Illustration by Destinee Sweeney.
Prevent yourself from getting the flu by eating healthy. Illustration by Destinee Sweeney.

“I think keeping on top of your health is important as a student because it allows you to put your best foot forward in school,” says University junior Emma Note. “There are many ways to keep healthy like working out. Not only does working out help you physically, but it is also a great way to lower stress. Also, eating healthy also allows students to have the energy they need to keep up with school work and other activities.”

Remember at the end of the day when feeling under the weather to take it easy. It is often easy to forget as college students that we are not invincible. An apple a day does not always keep the doctor away, but some of these tips above are a great start to avoid constant visits to the doctor. Remember to take extra precautions to avoid any further spread of COVID-19. For more information on this subject, contact the University Health Care Center on campus.