Staying healthy can be tricky for the average stressed, tired and generally bogged down student, but there are some easy steps that can help you prevent getting sick with the cold or flu during school.
Joanne Ricci, the senior instructor at UBC’s School of Nursing said that students often have a higher risk of getting sick due to “close studying quarters, high amounts of time on transit, not eating as well and getting less sleep.”
As germs can last anywhere from 24 to 48 hours on hard surfaces, Ricci recommends practicing good hygiene in order to protect yourself and those around you.
“Use the cough and cover technique, wash hands frequently and get vaccinated,” said Ricci.
As part of their influenza awareness campaign, Medicine, Pharmacy and Nursing students will be joining together to perform free flu vaccinations on students, faculty and staff across the UBC campus from November 4 to 27.
Ricci also said that making healthy food choices is an important part of maintaining one’s overall health.
Adam Osuchowski, a third-year Kinesiology student, said that opting for nutrient-dense and unprocessed food as much as possible has helped him maintain his health while focusing on his studies.
That said, it can still be tempting to overindulge with junk food during the winter months.
“To keep from overeating, try to listen to your body and ask yourself if you are actually hungry or if a food craving was triggered by something,” said Osuchowski.
Osuchowski recommends structuring your diet on the 80/20 concept, where you eat healthy food 80 per cent of the time and indulge in the occasional treat. An easy way to start would be by investing in a simple juicer or blender and drinking a green smoothie a couple of times a week.
“Smoothies are a very efficient way to get in massive amounts of nutrients,” said Osuchowski.
Fourth-year Sauder student Konrad Kobielewski said that while it is often difficult to find the time to work out, it is also vital to maintaining one’s health and energy levels during long study sessions.
“Keeping fit keeps the mind well lit,” said Kobielewski. “It is difficult to find energy and willpower to exercise every day.”
Kobielewski, who recently finished a 40-day workout challenge, said that physical exercise is now an essential part of his daily routine.
“Now that [the challenge] is over, daily activity has become a habit, something I need, just like I used to need fries,” said Kobielewski.
Ricci also said that performing some type of physical activity four to five times a week and regularly taking the time to relax are good ways to stay healthy and fight off infections over time.