Ways to protect yourself this winter

Alexus Baldwin | Contributing Writer

Courtesy of Leenika Belfield-Martin

This winter, the flu and cold will be prevalent. December is known to be the most infectious cold month according to Marcella Douglas, registered nurse and CEO of Health Partners Inc.

Knowing ways to protect yourself will limit your chances of getting sick.

“When college students are away from home, they do not have that constant reminder from their mother telling them to wear a coat and to take vitamins. [Therefore,] they typically forget and end up becoming sick,” said Marcellus Williams, graduate student from Hampton. “It is crucial to protect yourself and to get the shot because if you become ill with the influenza, you must leave school. Everyone should also know that the school offers [the shot] to students for free.”

During the winter, most people are less likely to consume vegetables and fresh fruits. This can make their bodies more vulnerable for an infection, which is why multi-daily vitamins are recommended.

Probiotics are important because not only do they help with the digestive system, but they also help our bodies build stronger immune systems.

“Last winter I wish I would have protected myself because I ended up catching the cold more than one time and it really affected my school work,” said Moriah Davis, a journalism major, from Newport News.

“During the time of [my sickness], I had to miss multiple days of class, which [caused me to be] behind in my schoolwork. I could have made simple decisions to prevent me from getting sick, such as staying hydrated, keeping myself warm and sanitizing things in my dorm room that [my roommate and I] mutually share.”

Staying hydrated helps flush out the toxins that are in the body. If you are sick with either the cold or the flu and you are not drinking enough, your mucus thickens and it becomes harder for your body to fight the bacteria and viruses.

Douglas said, “The recommended amount of water per day to keep yourself healthy is eight glasses and some people do not even meet that half way.”

Unjanae Brantley, a nursing major, from Yorktown, Va., said, “In my classes, the professors stress sanitation all the time with us, and although it is repetitive information, it is still very important. [At school,] it is a lot easier to become sick because you are constantly around large amounts of people and [you share] door knobs, handles and water fountains.”

Keeping hand sanitizer on you is also a necessity; this way, when you are touching various knobs and handles, you are still protecting yourself.

“Teens are more [likely] to become sick during the winter, and this can change if they all make better decisions during the season,” Douglas said. “Also, doing their own research will help as well.”


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