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Avoid the Cold and Flu Blues this Winter

Nov 23, 2012

Cold and flu season is here. And as much as we all might love chicken noodle soup and hot drinks, nobody likes to be slowed down by aches, fever, sniffles and coughs. The Responsible Gambling Council has always been a proponent of the limiting risks approach (Safe or Sorry, No Regrets, and of course, Know the Score), so in that spirit, we bring you these preventative, virus-vanquishing tips.

Wash your hands!

Laptop keyboards, borrowed cell phones, handshakes, elevator buttons, handrails; these can be a Petri dish of cold germs! So make sure you wash your hands frequently, keep your hands away from your face or mouth after touching surfaces, and carry hand sanitizer (perhaps a holiday-theme sanitizer with silver sparkles would seem festive and help get you through the season without getting sick!).

Stay out of the line of fire

You can see them approaching, red-nosed and watery-eyed, coughing and hacking, spreading germs across campus like some viral zombie army. Avoid these germ generators. You're familiar with the killer virus movie genre—one innocent sneeze in an elevator and a virus-filled droplet travels ten feet, right into an unsuspecting nose or mouth, leading to world-wide infection. So, discreetly switch seats on the bus or in class. If a friend complains about his or her horrible cold, reschedule the lunch you had planned with them. It's a different story at home: you can't kick out your roommates or family members, but avoid sharing utensils and cups, cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing, and this bears repeating: wash your hands! And if you are the unfortunate person who is teeming with germs: stay home if you can!

Get lots of sleep

You naturally want to sleep a lot when you're ill, but did you know that sleep is also a prevention tool? Aim to get at least eight hours of sleep a night and take a nap during the day if you're feeling sluggish. If a nap isn't possible—meditate! A recent study shows that meditation can help decrease sick days!

Eat healthy, delicious, nutrient-rich foods!

Your diet can be one of the most powerful defences against cold and flu. Take it easy on the greasy and sugary stuff: fast-food, snacks, processed food. Force yourself to eat the good stuff: leafy greens and vitamin-packed fruits. What are the best foods and drinks for fighting colds and flu? Anything high in antioxidants (garlic, green tea, blueberries) or vitamin C (oranges, parsley, bell peppers). Feeling too tired and achy to go to the grocery store? Call in a favour with your roommate to make the trip for you.

Take it easy on yourself

And if these strategies fail and you find yourself coming down with something, don't try to tough it out. Take a day off if you need to: ask a friend to take notes for the classes you may be missing and let your prof know why you’re not there — your healthy friends and fellow students thank you in advance!

And don't forget about the health resources available to you on campus: Acadia University, Niagara College, Cambrian College. Wilfrid Laurier University