by Kyle Leahy Walsh
How are you feeling these days? If you’re like a lot of folks at FSCJ, you’re feeling sick! We’re more than halfway through the Fall semester. There are readings, projects, assignments, and tests. You stay up too late, you’re not eating right and the stress has gotten to you. The holiday season is upon us which adds its own pressure and “BOOM”! Suddenly, you’re sick!
‘Tis the Season to be Sneezing! Fa-la-la-la-la La-la-la-la! Why are so many of us feeling poorly? It starts with that soreness in the back of your throat, or your ears are itchy and/or uncomfortable, or your head starts to pound or you feel achy, tired and run-down. It’s all caused by a variety of tiny, living viruses. What’s the difference between a cold and the flu?
Well, you can catch a cold any time of the year. The flu is a seasonal disorder. Influenza season generally lasts from the fall to the spring. The symptoms of a cold are usually less severe than those of a flu and normally don’t lead to any significant health complications. Over 100 viruses are responsible for causing a common cold according to the Mayo Clinic. The flu is caused by the influenza A, B, and C viruses and the strains vary from year to year, according to Healthline.
Flu and cold viruses are spread from person to person through close contact. When a sick person coughs, talks, or sneezes, viruses can become airborne. Then we inhale the viruses in the air that others have exhaled. A person can be contagious for 24 hours before they even show any signs of being ill.
When you have so much on your plate, it’s no fun being sick! Being in a school environment where you’re sitting at a desk or working on a computer that many people have used during the day, it’s not easy to evade those nasty viruses. Age, smoking and an immune system problem can leave you more susceptible to viruses, but even someone who’s as healthy as a horse can catch a cold or flu.
I’m not going to give any medical advice on how to treat your illness if you do get sick, but, here are some common sense suggestions I found to reduce your risk of catching a virus:
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Make time for regular exercise.
- Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.
- Sneeze and cough into your elbow and not your hands to avoid spreading germs.
- Minimize your direct contact with people who have a cold or the flu.
- Wash your hands frequently to get rid of any viruses you’ve picked up (if you soap and water are not available, use an alcohol based hand sanitizer).
- Keep your hands off your face and you’ll reduce your chances of catching a virus.