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The excitement of fall is filled with pumpkin spice lattes, colorful leaves, open windows —and the common cold. Here are some tips on how to stay well and fight those germs.
1.Go to sleep early or sleep in.
Rest is sickness’ worst enemy. It can be tough to go to bed when all you have is a slight sniffle that’s hardly deterring your ability to hang out with friends or play Assassin’s Creed, but getting as much sleep as possible during the first signs of sickness allows your body to direct all of its energy into warding off sickness, making it much easier to deal with later on.
“Getting plenty of rest and reducing stress helps to bolster the immune system, allowing us to fight potential illness,” Liberty nursing professor Lucinda Drohn said.
2. Don’t eat like a college student.
According to the Medical Director of Liberty University Health Services, Dr. Richard Lane, one of the reasons people get sick is that they skip meals and then make up for it by eating junk food. So put away the Doritos, skip the Dominos and add more fruits and vegetables to the menu. According to an ABC News article entitled “Ten Foods to Fight a Cold and Boost Your Immunity,” foods such as broccoli, red bell peppers and yogurt can help strengthen the immune system.
And the reason your mom made you chicken soup or tea when you were sick is probably because warm liquids have been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect and to help relieve nose congestion.
3. Clean like it’s “white glove.”
“A cold virus spreads through tiny air droplets that are released when the sick person sneezes, coughs or blows their nose,” The U.S. National Library of Medicine said on their website.
Because there are so many students living so close to each other on a college campus, germs spread faster. So make sure you wipe down commonly touched surfaces such as doorknobs, cell phones and counters.
Washing your hands frequently is also an easy way to keep away sickness.
“Hand washing and the use of antibacterial solutions have been demonstrated to reduce the transmission of viral infections,” Drohn said. “Then, keep your hands away from your face. Through the day, don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth unless you wash again, as you could be introducing illness-causing agents into your system.”
4. Avoid other sick people.
Sick people can be pretty easy to find, especially on a college campus where if one person gets sick on Monday, his or her whole dorm is sick by Wednesday. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, people are the most contagious for the first two or three days of a cold. However, avoid close contact with other sick people as much as possible. This means no sharing drinks or food, and no touching.