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Self Care 101

Tips to stay healthy during cold and flu season and beyond!

GET VACCINATED:

A yearly flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting yourself against influenza viruses. Flu shots are free at Health Services for students and may protect against seasonal flu. Health Services will provide flu vaccine beginning with a clinic in mid-October, and throughout the first semester. Check our website for updates. 

LIMIT YOUR EXPOSURE TO COLDS/FLU AND STOMACH BUGS

  • WASH YOUR HANDS (often and thoroughly) with warm water and soap or use alcohol-based sanitizers. Sanitize surfaces, particularly those often touched by others.
  • Don’t touch that. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth to keep viruses and bacteria that cause illness out of your body.
  • Prevent the spread. Don't share beverages or food. Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your shoulder/elbow.

BALANCE FUN AND WORK DEMANDS WITH HEALTHY HABITS

Your body needs food. Healthy eating during college can be challenging. Syracuse students deal with busy schedules, increased stress levels, changes in food availability and sometimes concerns around body image while trying to stay well.

  • Make a schedule for eating times – class schedules are often different depending on the day of the week, so make a weekly schedule. Try to eat breakfast within 30 minutes after waking up and then plan to eat every 3-5 hours through the day with 3 meals and at least one snack.  You can find information on eating healthy in the SU dining centers on their website.  You’ll find articles, daily menus and nutritional analysis.  Also, while on the site, check out “Creative Constructions” - a way to become your own cook by taking the foods provided in the dining centers and making them into something new.
  • Carry food.  Granola bars, trail mix and fruits can be great snacks to take with you. For lunch, a sandwich is still the most popular “eat on the run” food. Another idea:  cook a large amount of pasta on the weekend, add cut up veggies, throw in some tuna or diced chicken - mix with one of your favorite salad dressings on the day you are going to eat it and you have an instant lunch that can easily change from day to day.  You can also freeze grapes.  They act as an ice pack and are thawed by the time you eat them.

Drink more liquids!  Everyone should drink 6-8 glasses of water-like fluids per day (and more if you exercise).  Remember that alcohol dehydrates. Increased alcohol intake can reduce your immune function, leaving you more susceptible to colds and flu. 

Snooze or lose.  Most people need 6 to 9 hours of sleep every night to function well. Be sure to include sleep in your schedule. 

Exercise for 20-30 minutes on most days. It can be as simple as a brisk walk every day which is easily accomplished on this campus! Check out other ways to add some exercise to your life at Recreation Services website

Manage stress. More stress can relate to more illness. It is important to find at least a few minutes every day to relax and decompress. Some students find this to be a very challenging achievement during college.  However, learning what strategies work to decrease stress for you could be one of the most important skills you acquire in college! Exercise, talking to a friend and journaling are some strategies that work for many people.  Check out other resources on the counseling center’s website.

Kick butts! Smoking interferes with mechanisms that keep germs out of the lungs.  Therefore, smokers are more likely to become ill. If you don’t smoke, keep it that way The Syracuse University campus is smoke free! If you do smoke and are ready to quit, make an appointment to talk about smoking cessation.  There is help! 

Protect yourself. College is a time when many students explore their sexuality. Anyone who is sexually active should use condoms to prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s).  STD’s are treatable and many are curable. Half of all new STDs occur among young people under the age of 25. College students and others who are sexually active should get tested for STDs to know their status, protect themselves and protect their sexual partners. Condoms are always available near our pharmacy and are free of charge. Make an appointment (315-443-9005) to get tested for STDs if you have not been tested in the past year.