Beating Winter Sickness:

The Most Common Winter Illnesses and How to Combat Them

BY KRISTEN PEAKE
Staff Writer

February is a notoriously chilly month, and the ideal binge watching temptation is all too real for many students in dorms and off campus housing alike.
While catching up on the latest TV shows snuggled warm in the dorm seems like a great idea, too much down time can actually be hazardous to one’s overall health. Especially in the winter months.
According to the FDA, staying inside during the winter months makes us more susceptible to illness as we stay inside to avoid the cold more often than we do in the spring or summer.
Staying sedentary leaves us at greater risks to developing diabetes and cardiovascular diseases according to NHS, along with weakening our immune systems. Here are some of the FDA’s top illnesses that are heightened during the winter.

1. Colds
We all know that dreaded, all too familiar sniffle and sneeze associated with the onset of a cold. The common cold is a form of an upper respiratory infection, usually affecting the nasal passages which gives us that stuffy nose.
Most of the time, it is a virus, meaning there is not much doctors can do to kill the bug causing it.

   How to Combat It:
The Mayo Clinic suggests that sufferers drink lots of fluids, a.k.a water, tea, juice or even warm lemon water.
They also advise to get extra sleep, which can be hard for college students to do even when they’re not sick. Sufferers can gargle with warm salt water— one-half tablespoon of salt mixed with warm water—to relive a scratchy throat.

   When You Need to See a Doctor:
The Mayo Clinic states that you need to see a doctor when you have a fever of 103 degrees or higher, a fever with chills and a cough or severe sinus pain.

2. Seasonal Flu
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, January and February are the top months for contracting the flu and up to 20 percent of the US population will be impacted by the flu each year. Like the common cold, the flu is usually an upper respiratory infection with symptoms, but they tend to be more intense and come on suddenly.

   How to Combat It:
The Mayo Clinic says to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration associated with the flu. They also suggest using over the counter pain relievers, like Tylenol or Motrin, to combat the achiness associated with many flu symptoms.

  When You Need to See a Doctor:
Often, the flu will work itself out without the need of doctor intervention. However, some doctors will prescribe antiviral drugs within the first 48 hours that will help lessen your symptoms.

   How to Prevent Getting Sick
The easiest way to prevent getting sick is by washing your hands with warm water and soap to kill the germs you’ve picked up around the classroom or other public areas.
The Mayo Clinic as well as the FDA concur that getting plenty of rest and drinking lots of fluids help to keep you hydrated and your immune system strong.
Skipping the junk food and opting for fruit and veggies is also a great choice to get vitamins, like disease combating vitamin C. And finally getting out of your room and into the gym is a great way to keep your spirits up and get you in shape for the summer!
If you need to seek advice for any medical illness or questions about living a healthy lifestyle, contact Salisbury University Health Services at Holloway Hall, Room 180, call at 410-543-6262 or send your questions via email to studenthealth@salisbury.edu.

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