Surviving Cold and Flu Season at College
By Donna Stark
Even though it may feel as though school has been in session forever, it's never too late to think about your child's immunity, especially if that child is away at college. It's easy to keep tabs on your younger ones who are at home, easy to make sure they are eating well, taking their vitamins, and sneezing into their elbow. But your older child? The one who is technically classified as an adult but will always be your baby? Well, the only thing easy about them is how easy it is to worry. And with cold and flu season hanging over all of our heads, there is good reason to do so.
Keeping Your Adult Child Healthy
No matter the type of person one may be, cold and flu season marks a time of increased illness, and if your child is away at college, that season couldn't come at a worse time. It always seems to hit right about the time when stress levels are high on campus, when late night social gatherings turn into something completely opposite (late night study sessions), and when nobody, not even the best student on campus, can afford to get sick. That's right, cold and flu season rears its ugly head at the same time that college finals season begins, and is the unofficial time that you are allowed to worry. So go ahead and give your child a call and remind them how to survive the next few weeks. Here are some suggestions.
- Diet - A healthy diet is critical to a healthy mind and body, so remind your child what they should be filling their body with. Tell them to look for deeply-hued vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, heart-healthy fats, plenty of fruit, and water.
- Stress - It's important to mention that those nasty viruses know exactly when the body and immune system are weakened from too much stress. So remind your child to manage their time, to take mental breaks, and to seek help if their stress levels become too much for them to handle on their own.
- Exercise - Besides the running they do when they are late for class, ask your child if they exercise daily. Research has shown that daily exercise boosts the immune system by strengthening the cells that fight off bacteria. Daily physical activity is also associated with improved moods, a greater sense of well-being, and increased energy.
- Sleep - Many students incorrectly believe that now is not the time for sleep, that instead it's a time for late-night studying and cramming, but if your child is getting less than 7 hours of sleep a night, they are at an increased risk of getting sick. Quality sleep is needed for the immune system to combat infection and fight inflammation when a person is stressed, and more likely than not, that includes your child.
Healthy Child, Healthy Student
By maintaining healthy behaviors and lifestyle habits, your child can easily boost their immunity during the worst week of college and still be able to come home for break feeling great. They may be tired and worn out, but at least they won't be sick!
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in San Marcos, Calif.