7 ways to stay flu-free

Catherine Boudreau

Like it or not, winter is right around the corner, and nobody wants to be battling a runny nose, a nagging cough or trying to keep a fever down all winter long. But colds and flu come with the season, right? Well, not necessarily. Here are some quick tips to help prevent those awful conditions

1. Get the flu shot: Luckily, flu shots were offered on campus at the perfect time, as the best months to get the flu shot are October and November. However, it is better late than never. Two things to remember: Flu shots don’t cause the flu, and getting a flu shot won’t protect you against the common cold. Many local pharmacies offer the flu shot for a small charge, if you missed your free shot at QU.

2. Wash your hands frequently: Germs can spread pretty quickly around campus, seeing as many of us are living in close proximity to each other. Also, public door handles and railings are all infested with germs since so many people touch them multiple times a day. Using soap and water for 10 seconds or more is best for cleaning common cold viruses off hands, according to a 2005 University of North Carolina study. If you don’t have access to soap and water, consider carrying an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with you. Everyone should have a little bottle of hand sanitizer handy. “It is important to keep your hands away from your face,” according to WebMD.com, “especially your nose mouth and eye area.”

3. Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Make sure to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. And don’t forget to exercise. Try to get most of your nutrients from food, but if you’re unable to eat well, it’s not a bad idea to take one multivitamin each day. Mega doses, however, don’t help. Good nutrition and physical exercise can help ensure that your immune system is in good condition and ready to fight infection if it occurs.

4. Throw tissues away after each use: Used tissues are sources of virus that can contaminate any surface where they are left.

5.) Don’t smoke: “Cigarette smoke can irritate the airways and increase susceptibility to colds and other infections,” according to WebMD.com. “Even exposure to passive smoke can make you more vulnerable to colds.”

6. Get plenty of rest: The average person needs seven to eight hours of sleep a night. Teens and older adults may require eight to nine hours. You should feel rested when you wake up. This may be hard seeing as most are living the college lifestyle, but it could make a big difference when trying to prevent sickness.

7. Control stress: With papers to write, events to plan and dating problems to fix, this may seem like a difficult task. However, studies have shown that people experiencing emotional stress have weakened immune systems and are more likely to catch a cold than their calmer counterparts. So try and get your work done prior to the night before it’s due and tell that certain someone that they will just have to get over it because you might get sick, and therefore, they probably will too.