How To Avoid Colds and the Flu

Photo by Lance McCord

Living arrangements in college can be pretty awesome: sharing dorms or apartments with friends means always having a buddy around for a Lost marathon, power hour, or last minute pizza party. However, living in close quarters with other people also means that your chances of catching a cold or other bug are greatly increased. In order to stay healthy while in college, try following these tips:

1. Get plenty of sleep

Sleep deprivation lowers your immune system, i.e. your body’s natural defenses against illness. Make sure you are getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night, or take naps during the day if you miss a couple hours.

2. Keep hydrated

Drinking lots of water helps keep your nasal passages moist—kind of gross, but it’s important in warding off fevers, which tend to dry you out.

3. Eat a healthy diet

Eating wholesome foods helps increase your metabolism, which also amps up your immune system. Try eating plenty of whole grains, lean protein, and vegetables and fruits for maximum benefit.

4. Stock up on vitamin C and zinc

You may have heard this one before. Both vitamin C and zinc have been shown to increase the body’s immune system, so try to be sure you’re getting your RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) of both. For vitamin C, this means a couple of servings of vitamin c rich foods a day (such as a glass of orange juice, some strawberries, etc.) and, for zinc, a serving of red meat, legumes, or seeds.

5. Don’t share food/straws if you can help it

You might feel a little mean not letting your wheezing friend take a sip of your Diet Coke, but it is in your best interest. Saliva is one of the most common mediums for virus transmission, so try not to share utensils, cups, or other dishes with your friends, especially during the colder months.

Follow these five tips and you may just avoid those cold and flu bugs this winter. After all, who wants to be sick in bed on a Saturday night?

This guest post was contributed by Kay Ehni of All Treatment.

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