With temperatures decreasing, leaves changing colour, and the air becoming fresh and crisp; these changes are all signs that fall is here. School has also just begun, meaning that we are at the peak of our student population. Everyone is outside enjoying the great weather, and meeting new people.
The changing season and the increase in student interactions is exciting, but we are all at risk for catching influenza, also known as the flu. According to the Government of Canada, influenza affects the nose, throat, and the lungs. You may experience symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, aches and pains, fever, sore throat, congestion, and/or runny nose.
To be successful in school, you need to stay healthy. Here are tips to prevent catching and spreading the flu.
1. Get a flu shot: This will reduce your risk of contracting the virus. Health Services offers flu shots on a walk-in basis, so if you think you are at high risk of getting the flu, get your shot.
2. Take vitamin C supplements: Vitamin C is a great immune system booster. A strong immune system can lower your risk of catching the flu.
3. Eat healthy: Eat lots of vitamin-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables. I know this can be hard to remember when there is hot and tasty pizza everywhere you look, but at least try to replace one night of pizza with a healthy and nutritious meal. If you are already doing so, then you are ahead of the game.
4. Engage in physical activity: Stay active, whether it’s by visiting the gym, or going for a brisk walk. Believe it or not, keeping active can also boost your immune system.
5. Get some sleep: I know the hectic workload that comes with being a university student is unavoidable. But at least try to get seven hours of sleep every night. Your immune system will thank you in the end.
6. Wash your hands: When you come in contact with doorknobs, seats, phones, keyboards, or other public surfaces, make sure to wash or sanitize your hands, if you are not near a washroom.
7. Try not to touch your nose, mouth, or eyes: These body parts are the most at risk of contracting the virus. Before you touch any areas of your face, be sure to wash you hands before and after.
8. Stay home: If you are feeling so terrible that you can’t function properly, it’s best you stay at home. Take care of yourself, and reduce the risk of spreading the flu.
If you feel like you have symptoms of influenza, it’s best if you visit a health care provider, or visit Health Services located on campus.