Tips for staying healthy at college
Going away to college is exciting, but adjusting to a new environment can take a toll on your health. Living in close quarters with other students certainly does not help – once one person catches a cold, it is only a matter of days until the entire residence hall is sneezing and coughing. Do not let a bug keep your from class and college life. Use these tips to stay healthy while at school.
Wash your hands
This age-old rule has likely been ingrained into your daily habits since childhood, but a simple rinse after the restroom will not do when you are trying to stave off illness. Her Campus explains that washing your hands is absolutely essential to staying healthy, so you should lather up as often as possible.
“Wash up whenever you can.”
This is especially crucial if your roommate, friends or fellow dorm residents are sick, as you are constantly being exposed to whatever pesky illness is going around. Make an effort to wash up whenever you can, as you will undoubtedly pick up germs from shared surfaces like doorknobs, desks and books.
When washing your hands, make sure to scrub with soap and water while singing “Happy Birthday” in your head, as this is the amount of time it takes to get your hands truly clean. Additionally, avoid touching your face, mouth, eyes and nose in between washes, recommends the source.
Get plenty of sleep
It can be tempting to cut back on shut-eye in college. Between attending class, hanging out with friends, studying and going to work and clubs,many college students stretch themselves thin trying to fit all their activities and responsibilities in every day. While limiting your rest time to a few hours each night may allow you to participate in everything, not sleeping enough can mean serious consequences for your well-being.
EHealth reports that people who do not get enough sleep may be more prone to illness, as immune systems require rest in order to remain strong and functional. The source explains that college students should make an effort to sleep in as often as possible. Because you are still developing and living in a fast-paced, high-stress environment, sleeping late is not lazy – it is healthy.
Everyone knows the dangers associated with smoking cigarettes, but few people truly grasp the dangers of secondhand smoke. U.S. News & World Report explains that cigarette smoke can actually carry the germs that cause meningitis, a serious illness that is often diagnosed in college students. Smoke can also cause general inflammation and irritation of the throat and lungs which can increase your chances of getting sick.
If your friends smoke, offer to help them find the resources they need to quit. Students living with dedicated smokers who have no intention of giving up their habit should consider using air purifiers in their dorm rooms. These can help improve the air quality inside your room, which can be compromised if your roommate is bringing toxic smoke in via his or her clothes.
Monitor your diet
Many people associate college with late-night pizza feasts and ramen noodle breakfasts, but students committed to staying healthy should avoid getting sucked into these harmful eating habits. Her Campus explains that consuming a nutritious diet can help boost your immune system so you can effectively fight off diseases. In addition to fruits and veggies, the source suggests incorporating garlic and coconut oil into your diet as well, as these foods have been shown to improve immunity.
You should also be vigilant about drinking plenty of water, as being dehydrated increases your risk of getting sick. Her Campus explains that many college students do not consume enough H2O to counteract the amount of alcohol and coffee they drink, which can cause them to fall ill.
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