by Victoria Nguyen
As I’m sure you all are well aware, the temperatures are dropping. I personally am not built to function in these kinds of temperatures. I am probably one of the only Texans who enjoys the heat, and I really wouldn’t have a problem with the temperature saying in the 90s all year round. If I had my way, the temperature would get this low only during the week of Christmas, but since I have no say over the weather, it seems as though I am going to have to suck it up. The purpose of this post is to resemble a public service announcement.
As the weather gets cooler, inevitably the sniffles and red eyes begin to spread like the plague. Nobody wants to be sick, especially at this time of year, so let’s practice healthy habits to make it through the rest of the semester. Probably the most important and my personal favorite rule of thumb is wash your hands! Your hands touch hundreds of things every day, which in turn are touched by hundreds of other hands. This intimate interaction with the entire student body causes the invisible chaos of spreading germs. If you sneeze or cough, take a trip to the bathroom and use soap and warm water to remove those icky germs off your hands. Hand sanitizer is sufficient for emergencies, but don’t rely on it as your only protection from bacteria.
Another suggestion is to carry a pack of tissues with you in your backpack or bag. Just because you are not sick, doesn’t mean you won’t sneeze. Having tissues nearby can help keep you from spreading germs and ultimately make you feel a little better. Tissues could also help you help others. Having a pack of tissues will help people like me not get so annoyed at you during class from your constant sniffling. My mom used to tell my sister and me to stop sniffling and blow our noses to prevent getting a headache. I would just brush her off and continue to do what I was doing, and sure enough not only would I have a runny nose, but also a terrible headache.
The next tidbit of advice I have to offer is to cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough. This one is a little tricky based on the fact that the methods of carrying out this tip vary and are quite controversial. Bottom line is DO NOT just let all your germs and nastiness float in the air for other people to inhale. Not only is that GROSS, but it’s also discourteous. When it comes to coughing, the general technique is to cup your hand over your mouth, or to release a cough into the inside of your arm. The same could be applied to sneezing if a tissue is not readily available. No matter what technique you use remember to clean your hands and dispose of your dirty tissues to prevent other people from getting sick. Proper sneezing and coughing etiquette keeps you and others healthy.
The most difficult and probably most important step for me involves staying warm. Like I said earlier, I do not do well in the cold. I like the heat and become a deer in headlights when winter comes around. I don’t like wearing slacks, probably because I spend more than 75% of the year in shorts, and adapting to the cold temperatures is a constant struggle for me. This year is even worse because the insides of residential halls and classrooms are so hot. When I’m getting dressed in the morning, I feel like I am about to pass out because the space is so stuffy. Because the AC is not on in the res halls, the air isn’t circulating, causing the rooms to get very uncomfortable. Regardless of the internal temperatures, it’s important to stay warm outside. Dress in layers to make yourself more comfortable in the constant roaming around during the day. Keep your essential parts covered, like your feet, head and ears. Most of your body heat escapes from these areas so pull out those cute boots, beanies and earmuffs.
If you do start to feel yourself coming down with a cold, DO NOT wait until it’s too late to fix. Always have some allergy medication or a common cold remedy on hand just for preventative measures. If you are a fan of tea, try combating a little cold with herbal teas. The Student Health Center, located across the street from LBJ Bus loop and Jackson Hall, is an essential resource on campus. If you think it might be time to get some medication or seek a professional diagnosis, make an appointment to schedule a visit as soon as you can. I hope it won’t come down to this, but there is no sense in sitting around feeling miserable. If you don’t do it for your own well-being, do it for others. The longer you sit around with a sickness, the more likely you will spread the germs to other people. Take advantage of the resources available to you.
With finals coming up very soon (December 6, to be exact!), it is imperative to keep yourself healthy to ensure your academic success. Although the temptation to pull all-nighters for the next few weeks is strong, don’t. Getting enough sleep helps your immune system fight invading bacteria, essentially keeping you from coming down with a cold or anything like that. The cold weather also has an effect on our diets and activity levels. Reason #52 why I dislike the cold is because I get really lazy. I avoid going out in the cold weather andI eat everything I can get my hands on. That’s why I can’t understand why the two major feast holidays happen in the winter, but that’s beside the point. Remember to keep your diet in balance as well as get enough exercise to prevent gaining a few extra pounds during the next couple of months. I would also recommend going for a nice run or to sit in the sun for a few minutes every now and again to keep from getting depressed. I know this is something I have to do more often than most because the more I sit around, the more I begin to think. Sometimes if I sit long enough thinking about various things, I crawl into a depressive state. Just do your best to control what you can.
Although this is what most people consider the most wonderful time of the year, it can also suck if you get sick. Remember all the tips we’ve learned throughout the year to prevent the spreading of germs and prevent getting ill. For a lot of us, this is the first winter away from the watchful eye of our parents. There isn’t going to be anyone nagging you to put on a jacket or hat. There won’t be anyone there to nurse you back to health with NyQuil and chicken noodle soup. This year, it is up to us to look out for our own well-being.
I hope y’all find my helpful tips to be useful throughout the coming months. I wish all of you the best of health and most success in your academic preparations. Bundle up, Bobcats!