For Freshmen. By Freshmen.
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Aug 04 2017
by Katie Taylor

11 Tips To Avoid Getting Sick In College

By Katie Taylor - Aug 04 2017

When you get to college, it's really common to get sick within the first few weeks. Living in a dorm you're exposed to so many new germs and combined with lifestyle changes, it can be really hard to stay healthy. Here are some tips that you can use to avoid getting sick once you get to college.

1. Get lots of sleep.

This is easier said than done as a college student, but not sleeping enough can seriously weaken your immune system. A lot of people think this is just an old wives’ tale, but there’s hard science to back it up.

2. Eat healthy.

Dining halls aren’t really known for having a wide variety of nutritious food, but it’s important to keep a healthy diet once you get to college in order to stay healthy. If you incorporate some fruits and veggies into your diet, you’ll probably feel a lot better than if you eat only processed junk food.

3. Drink tea instead of coffee.

Too much coffee can suppress your immune system’s effectiveness, so maybe next time you get that caffeine itch, drink a healthier alternative like green tea instead of coffee.

4. Become familiar with your campus health services.

Just in case you do get sick, be sure you know where you can go to get medical help on your campus. Also, be familiar with the process of making appointments to see doctors because not all campus health facilities have drop-in appointments.

5. Exercise.

If you get active and get your heart pumping frequently, your immune system will thank you. So hit the gym every once in awhile. It’ll not only help keep you healthy, but it’ll also help you breathe better, sleep better and have better circulation.

6. Avoid alcohol/drug use.

You might notice a pattern when you get to college: If you don’t feel well, a night out will make it 100 times worse. The effect that alcohol and drugs have on your immune system combined with the lack of sleep that most likely goes along with it means that it’s probably healthier to spend the night in.

7. Get Vitamin C.

This one’s basically common knowledge, but if you take a daily dose of vitamin C, you’re way less likely to get sick. Also, you can buy vitamin C tablets just about anywhere.

8. Wash your hands.

Killing germs is key, so even though it may take an extra few seconds, it’s gonna be totally worth it when you’re the only one out of your friends who isn’t sick!

9. Drink water.

Keeping yourself hydrated is good for you in so many ways: It makes you feel less fatigued, it works to keep your skin clear and it’s great to ensure a strong immune system that can fight germs.

10. Get the flu vaccine.

So many students overlook getting the flu vaccine for different reasons: Not enough time, fear of needles or they just don’t think it’s important. The fact of the matter is it's the easiest way to prevent getting the flu, which can knock you out for a while, so get the shot! There are so many different places you can get it, so there’s really no reason not to.

11. Go outside.

Fresh air really does work wonders for your body. If you’re not feeling great, it’s tempting to stay in bed all day, but just a short walk outside will not only cheer you up, it can actually help your body to fight off a cold.

It's easy to get sick in college with so many new germs in the air, but there are so many ways you can try to prevent it before it even happens. Follow these tips and hopefully you'll have a healthy semester!

Lead Image Credit: Unsplash

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Katie Taylor - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Katie Taylor is a sophomore at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill majoring in Business and minoring in Spanish. In her free time, you can find her instagramming her dog, baking anything with chocolate, or watching Game of Thrones.

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