Ways to escape the flu this winter

With the hallowed halls of Southern Miss being immersed in contagion and disease, it can be easy to succumb to the pressure of school and a compromised immune system.

However, all hope is not lost for the health-conscious student. Use these tips to stay healthy this cold and flu season.

The first way to stay healthy is to have a good sleep schedule. With finals coming up and many papers due, it can be tempting to stay up late or even pull an all-nighter to prepare for an assignment.

However, according to the Brown University Health Promotion, losing sleep can weaken the immune system and make the body more susceptible to bacteria and viruses. Instead of staying up late to cram, make sure to keep an organized study schedule.

Another way to avoid sickness is for students to wash their hands regularly.

According to a recent study by Wright Patterson Medical Center in Dayton, Ohio, out of the 68 paper bills they analyzed, five of the bills contained bacteria that can cause an infection in perfectly healthy people. Also, 59 of them were contaminated with bacteria that could cause an infection in anyone with a compromised immune system.

These common sources of bacteria, as well as other sources like computer keyboards and mobile phones, can increase the chances of catching something nasty. Think of everything like working in food service: wash hands after using the bathroom, handling money or after touching anything shared with the public.

Another method of remaining healthy is to keep a humidifier around. According to the UK Daily Mail, the flu virus loves dry air and thrives in low-humidity conditions such as houses and places with centralized heating.  One option is to keep the centralized heating turned low to keep it from blowing too much and to save on energy costs.

However, for those who like to be warm and snuggly at all times, invest in a humidifier. A humidifier will also help keep one’s skin moist and prevent possible nosebleeds from dry nasal passages.

Alanna Fopiano, a senior nutrition major, stresses the importance of a good diet in preventing sickness.

“Now is not the time to go on a diet,” Fopiano said. “Cutting calories when your body needs them most can lengthen recovery time and potentially make you sicker.”

Last but not least: those who are sick should stay home.  In the winter, people are more likely to stay inside and spread germs through contact with each other.

Recently, the theatre department learned a tough lesson: trying to fight through a sickness in the name of staying productive usually ends badly, and one may end up making others sick.

Whitney Randall, a junior theatre major, recently fell ill during the tech week for USM’s production of “The Wind in the Willows.”

“It was really hard,” she said. “I wanted to be there and I wanted to work and keep going, but I knew the reason I was sick myself is because so many sick cast members came to rehearsal anyway. So I stayed in bed and got better before coming back for performance.”

The flu season can knock the wind out of one’s sails, but it does not have to hinder his or her life. Use these tips to keep healthy and coast through finals feeling fit as a fiddle.