As some of you have experienced firsthand, the cold and flu season has begun. You have no intention of getting sick but, wham, you get hit with a stuffy nose, sore throat, or a host of other annoying symptoms. You’ve been sick with the cold or flu before so you know you can manage, but this time you’re away from home and these symptoms may bring anxiety due to the on-going pandemic. It may feel like getting sick is just not an option. Afterall, you have classes, activities, reading, p-sets, and more, plus you don’t have the usual comforts of home.
You got this, Moose. Read on for tips on preventing or managing illness. The good news is there is plenty you can do to reduce the chances that you’ll get all coughed up!
Frequent hand washing is the number one defense against illness for you and your community. Remember to get the often forgotten spots: between fingers, thumbs, under nails, and wrists.
Manage stress and budget time for relaxing. Cortisol is a hormone your body produces for fight or flight. It makes energy available to your brain and muscles, but takes energy away from systems not needed for fighting or flighting. The first system to go… your immune system.
Hydrate. Water is needed for all biological processes and it never hurts to have extra. Professors are cool with bathroom breaks!
Wear your mask!
Sleep 7-8 hours. Lack of sleep slows the production of antibodies and white blood cells.
You can do all that and still get sick. But you can also get a healthy boost in the dining hall. Consider this:
Heat it up: Try coffee, tea, milk, water, and/or soup. It doesn’t matter which, as long as it’s hot. The steam helps loosen mucus, which may contribute to congestion and sore throat.
Get spicy: Crushed red pepper, wasabi, and hot sauce open nasal passages, making it easier to clear mucus from the respiratory tract.
You’ve got to “C” it to believe it: Vitamin C won’t cure your cold, but it will help keep up your immunity. Oranges, grapefruit, bell peppers, broccoli, and pineapple are good sources of vitamin C.
Go pro with probiotic foods: Yogurt provides probiotics in the form of beneficial bacteria for a healthier gut and stronger immune system.
Cough or sneeze, use your sleeve, not your hand.
Carry extra masks as coughing or sneezing into your mask can make it less effective, not to mention kind of funky.
University Health Services (UHS) offers FREE flu shots to Princeton students. Flu shots are now more important than ever to protect yourself and the people around you and reduce strain on the healthcare system. Get vaccinated at FluFest this week!
October 5th, 6th, 12th and 13th
8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Frist Campus Center, B Level
If you do get sick, and want more information on your symptoms and possible treatments or remedies for common illnesses, visit this helpful page on the UHS website.
How to decide when to self-treat or get evaluated by UHS?
Seek help if you experience:
Stiff neck or inability to bend your neck
Rash, along with your cold symptoms
Pain in your chest
Achiness and extreme fatigue
Extreme sore throat
Wheezing or other difficulties related to inhaling and exhaling
Cough that keeps you up at night
Fever of 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit and higher
Strep throat, mononucleosis, pneumonia, and the flu are examples of more serious illnesses. The team of medical professionals at UHS is ready to evaluate and treat you. Call 609-258-3141 to make an appointment.
GEAR ALERT! Moose, it’s time for a little extra love and “herd immunity” in the form of a Cold Care Kit. Come by the relaxation station outside the dining hall at 12:30pm on Thursday, October 7th (my mom’s birthday!). You can look forward to a collection of useful supplies, so you can avoid feeling all ‘coughed up’.
Lip balm. Soothe those dry, chapped lips with a little piece of heaven.
Tissues. Because no one wants to blow their nose with toilet paper.
Lozenges. Calm down that burning throat and ease your cough.
Emergen-C. This is a supplement containing high doses of vitamins C, B6 and B12, plus other nutrients like zinc and vitamin D. It’s supposed to boost your immunity or help you bounce back faster. But this is all debatable.
Kindness. You can’t see it, but it's there! Ask for help if you need it and let your body rest.
Wishing you well,