Staying Healthy during Cold and Flu Season

Joe Richter, Staff Writer

    On average, students miss about 12 days of school to the effect of the cold or flu. The common cold and the flu, also known as influenza, are viral illnesses that attack the respiratory system in the body. During this time, the student infected with a cold will have a cough, experience tiredness, sniffling or sneezing, a mild fever, a sore throat, or mild headaches. If a student has caught the flu, they will experience pain in muscles, a dry cough, vomiting, the chills, nausea, head congestion, sore throat, or sneezing and coughing.  Do not come to school when you are ill, because it will spread around just by the transfer of germs through the air and contact with door handles, desks, and especially hands.

  The best way to prevent acquiring a cold or flu virus is simple. Get the flu vaccine from this year at your doctor’s office. The flu changes annually so there are different types of the virus, so make sure you have the most recent vaccine. Also, wash your hands on a regular basis especially after sneezing, coughing, or being around the ill. Doing this will decrease the amount of infection spread by touch. Next, try to avoid sharing objects, and also touching your mouth, nose, and eyes. Most infections are touched by your hands, and when you touch your face it is transferred to where you will potentially get sick.

  There are three major antioxidant vitamins, substances that inhibit oxidation, that help boost your immune system to help fight against infection. They are found in fruits and vegetables with purple, red, blue, orange, and yellow hues. Vitamin C which helps boost your immune system by increasing the amount of white blood cells produced. Since your body does not produce its own daily Vitamin C intake, it is very important to put it into your body. Next, Beta-carotene, which is essential for a strong immune system, good vision, and eye health. Do not take too much of a dose because it is toxic in high doses. Last is Vitamin E, this is rich with antioxidants. Knowing what food these vitamins are in is very important.

  Pediatric nurse, Renee Richter, stated “One of the best ways to stay healthy and avoid most sicknesses starts with eating the right foods, and not filling your body with junk.”

  Eating right and getting plenty of exercise is very important to stay healthy during the cold and flu season. Eating Citrus fruits such as grapefruits, orange, clementines, tangerines, lemons, and limes will help your immune system run at 100 percent. Broccoli is one of the healthiest items put on the table, because it is packed with Vitamin A,C, and E as well as numerous antioxidants. Garlic is another health boosting vegetable. It helps lower blood pressure and slows down the hardening of arteries. Its immune-boosting properties come from heavy concentrations of sulfur-contain compounds, such as allicin. Ginger root actually helps prevent the cold from taking hold in the first place. There are many more great sources to help boost your immune system, but yogurt has a great source of vitamin D to help regulate the immune system and boost your body’s natural defense against disease.

  Staying healthy during the school year is very important. So eating right and getting the most beneficial nutrients for your body is key to a healthful lifestyle, and not missing school.