Keeping healthy from COVID-19 and the common cold this winter

By Erica Zebrowski
December 14, 2021

CVS Pharmacy offering free COVID testing and vaccines. Photo by Lashay Smith
CVS Pharmacy offering free COVID testing and vaccines. Photo by Lashay Smith

It’s that time of the year again, which means being cautious of coming into contact with certain illnesses is something that students have to keep in mind. 

In this day and age, we have the common cold, the flu and COVID-19 that are on top of the list of worries that students seem to have and it doesn’t help that we’re still in the era of this pandemic. There are many things that we can do to keep ourselves and the people around us healthy, even while living on a college campus.

Neglecting some basic tasks in your daily life can lead to a weakened immune system. Getting onto a healthy sleep schedule, managing your stress well, eating a balanced diet and getting active can all help boost your immunity to the common cold. 

“I’ve heard that taking vitamin C and D is good, and also even Zinc. There are also cold medicines people take and keep at their disposable such as DayQuil that can catch colds fast in their tracks,” Olivia Primerano, sophomore education major, said.

Besides doing basic tasks such as keeping hydrated, there are supplements that are available that can help boost your immune system. Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin E are some key vitamins that you can implement in your daily diet. Foods rich in Vitamin C include oranges, strawberries, spinach and broccoli. The human body does not store Vitamin C, so making sure we include these key foods in our diet is essential to our health. 

Including Vitamin C in your diet can help boost your immune system. Photo by PharmEasy.

Vitamin B6 can be found in chicken, salmon and tuna. It can also be found in chickpeas, which is mainly what hummus is made from. Foods that have Vitamin E include mainly nuts and spinach. These three immune boosting vitamins can not just be found in foods but can be taken in supplements as well. 

“I do my best to keep myself hydrated. I always have my water bottle with me. I also wash my hands frequently, which is one of the most basic things a person could do to preserve health,” Primerano said.

Keeping your hands clean and the area around you clean can be an effective strategy to not get sick. Washing your hands for 20 or more seconds can give the soap time to capture the germs and rinse them down the drain, this is a crucial step to keeping yourself healthy. You should wash your hands after using the restroom, before eating, after sneezing or blowing your nose and after caring for someone that is sick. 

In a pandemic or not washing your hands is always important. Photo from Pixabay.

“I try not to touch my face or mouth when I am out. I do not want to get germs because I am being careless,” Primano said.

Another reason to keep your hands clean would be because people touch their faces at least 23 times in an hour. Lots of colds and illnesses can be transmitted through the mouth and nose. 

Managing your stress can be easier said than done. In college you have finals that are all crammed into one week. Stress can actually be a big immune suppressor which can make you more susceptible to illnesses. There are many ways to lower your stress, and one of the top ways to relieve stress would be exercise. Going on a 10-15 minute brisk walk around campus can keep your stress levels down and can get you out of the dorm room and up and moving and engaging in more physical activities you may like to do here and there can be a huge help. 

Meditation is also another big stress reliever. You can take a 10 minute study break to close your eyes, relax your shoulders and focus on breathing deeply. Not only can meditation help ease stress, it can also help you focus better. Meditation can help you focus on the present rather than stressing about the future exam. 

There are many ways people can stay healthy and away from illnesses and it is important to keep up a healthy diet, daily exercises and a calm mind during cold and flu season. 


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Erica Zebrowski

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