Stress can induce more than headaches

November 15, 2012 6:00 AMComments Off

Photo by Jeremy Leong, staff photographer

Cold and flu season is infiltrating Drake University. Between colder weather and the stress of exams, immune systems are weakened around this time, and they become more susceptible to germs and viruses.

There are, of course, the basic ways of prevention that parents have been teaching children for generations: wash your hands after you go to the bathroom and before you eat, don’t share food and drinks, eat well, exercise and get plenty of rest.

Exercising or doing some other stress reliever for even 30 minutes a day is a great way to keep your immune systems strong. If you find yourself getting too stressed out about a certain project or paper, take 20 minutes to relax and then get back to work. Preparing for end-of-semester assignments and exams in advance will help keep you more relaxed and will limit the amount of last-minute cramming that will cause you to lose sleep.

For those seeking extra immunities, the Wellness Center offers this year’s flu vaccine in both shot and mist form for $20. The price will drop as they encourage more students to get vaccinated to use up their remaining supplies.

The Health Center also offers complimentary, reusable thermometers that list the different symptoms between the flu and colds (fevers are often a sign of the flu). The stomach flu is a separate virus than the regular flu, by the way, and it is often something that just needs to run its course, as is unfortunately the case with most illnesses.

“Being sick was a travesty. Medicine can help with the common cold, but it can’t fix it. It’s something that just has to run its course,” said first-year Alexi Delathouder, who recently suffered being sick. “Don’t worry about putting on makeup, just stay in your sweats. You’ll feel a lot better.”

Nurses will tell you similarly to stick to the school-old order of staying home if you are sick (and hey — it can be a good excuse to miss class and take a relaxing day for yourself).

For anyone with questions or concerns, the Health Center encourages you to come in and see them. If you’re too sick or don’t want to walk over, people are welcome to call with their questions at 515-271-3731. Overall, live well, stay healthy and if you do get sick, be courteous to others and stay home.

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