Poor health comes with seasonal change

By Hailey Kurth

To blow, or not to blow.

While sitting in class, many students are faced with the decision to blow their nose and disrupt the learning, or to suck it up. Pun intended.

The season changing is a normal factor that contributes to the start of colds. There are things students can do to prevent the symptoms associated with a cold.

“To stay healthy and function their best students can do several things: Include fruits, vegetables, proteins, and carbohydrates in their diet and drink plenty of water. Students may also look into taking a daily multi-vitamin.” said Alicia Czachowski, assistant director at Health Enhancement.

Getting six to eight hours of quality sleep a night will help keep your body working, Czachowski said. Also, since stress can lead to becoming sick, a student can practice time and stress management techniques to decrease negative issues related to stress.

Flyers posted around campus by the Student Health Organization (SHO) also give suggestions for keeping the cold away: Bring your own bottles to drink from, wash your hands, get plenty of sleep and drink a lot of fluids.

“I should probably do preventative stuff,” said sophomore marketing major Chelsey O’Brien. “But I kind of let it ride out. Once I get [a cold], I usually take medicine.”

Beverly Espe, assistant director at Health Services, said the cold and flu are both respiratory infections caused by different viruses but have similar symptoms. Cold symptoms are less severe than the flu and generally develop gradually. Symptoms of a cold include nasal congestion, clear nasal discharge, sneezing, cough, hoarseness, scratchy or minor sore throat, and minor headache, Espe said.

On Familydoctor.org, a link that can be found on NIU’s Health Services site, the site explains there is no cure for the common cold. The only thing a person can do is to treat the symptoms.

“Last year I had to skip class once,” O’Brien said, “When I get a cold, my asthma works up so then that’s usually what gets me going. That’s when I have to go to the doctor and skip class. When I get the common cold, I’m usually fine if I take [cold medicine].”

Czachowski said once students contract colds, they need to rest and relax.

“Getting plenty of sleep will give your body the chance to heal,” Czachowski said, “Going to class is probably not the best idea, especially if you have a fever. You probably won’t be able to concentrate, and you will only pass on your cold to someone else.”

According to the SHO flyer, a student is most contagious during the first few days of the cold.