Julia Busatto
The Silhouette

Flu and cold season has hit McMaster. We’ve all noticed the running noses and heaving coughs as we make our way through campus. I don’t know about you, but I’m sick and tired, literally, of blowing my nose in lecture. So what can we do to beat the dreaded January sickness? The following tips are ensured to help you stay healthy this wintery season.

Drink a lot of liquids

If you already do, drink more. It is suggested that in a day you should consume 6-8 glasses of water. When your body is sick it produces more mucus, causing your sinuses to feel stuffed up. Drinking water among other liquids helps increase mucus flow. Liquids also help you stay hydrated, which is important to building a stronger immune system. If you’re looking for a warm drink, herbal teas will tell your cold to hit the road. Herbal teas are warm, organic and have essential hydrating benefits.

Sleep, sleep, sleep

Although students tend to like to stay up until the wee hours of the morning, it is essential we get 6-8 hours of sleep. It is important for our bodies to recharge after a long day of bustling around. A good nights sleep will strengthen your body for the following day, and help you regain your strength as quickly as possible.

To keep your immune system in good shape, it is best to develop a regular sleeping pattern. For students this may be nearly impossible, but even four good nights of sleep a week will help you fight off the cold. This may be a no-brainer, but try to avoid stimulating drinks like coffee late at night.

Eat well

And yes I mean chicken noodle soup. Hot chicken soup, or any given soup, raises the temperature in your nose and throat, creating an inhospitable environment for viruses that prefer cooler, drier climes. In addition, just like a hot steamy shower, hot soup thins out the mucus blocking your sinuses. Alternatively, spicy foods like cayenne, horseradish, or (for lovers of sushi) wasabi can shrink the blood vessels in your nose and throat to relieve congestion. Garlic contains allicin, a potent antimicrobial that can fend off bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Overall, generally eating healthy will help you avoid becoming sick, and help you get over a sickness more quickly.

Stay warm

It’s the most obvious tip, but I often see people between classes without proper winter gear. It’s time to ditch the fashionable fall jacket and opt for that ugly parka your grandma gave you. Although it may not get you on Style at Mac, it will keep you warm and less likely to catch a cold.  Bundle up when you are on campus, waiting for the bus and running errands to become less vulnerable.

Be conscientious

As students we come in contact with many people everyday, and must do our part to not only keep ourselves healthy but others as well. This means washing your hands frequently after you cough, blow your nose, go to the bathroom, eat, etcetera. Avoid sharing utensils and water bottles, and make sure you let others around you know you are sick. It’s a classic, but always sneeze into your arm rather than your hands. Another option is a vacuum-sealed suit. Do what you need to do.

Hopefully by following these tips the McMaster community will become less red faced and sniffling.

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