Springtime at Grossmont is a time of growth, renewal and new life. Due to the weather, plant life grows faster than any other season. The dull browns and grays from winter are replaced by vivid greens, pinks and yellows. The sun shines bright and the overcast sky becomes increasingly scarce.
Overall, life on earth is flourishing. However, with the welcomed season of spring on the horizon comes another visitor. This one is not quite as welcome: the cold and flu season. Considering that getting the flu on a test day is the bane of existence for almost every college student, the allergy season casts a gloomy shadow over what should be a joyful time in our year.
As for staying healthy, strong and avoiding any type of ailment – be it a cold or the coronavirus – it should come as no surprise that sickness spreads easily. When examining the most popular breeding grounds for the common cold, studies show areas that are densely populated and have frequent traffic of people coming to and from the area in question have the highest risk of spreading sickness and germs. These primarily include areas such as airports, shopping malls and, of course, schools and colleges.
This means students at Grossmont are at high risk of catching a cold or virus. We have not yet developed the technology to terminate all disease, but why not examine how we can reduce our chances of getting sick?
Fortunately, for those of us who might not be familiar with how to get through the flu season unscathed, many students at Grossmont are rising to the challenge of doing just that.
How are they staying healthy? Daniel Arroso, a Grossmont student double majoring in psychology and criminology, said: “First thing’s first, my personal hygiene. I take a shower every day and I do my best to wash my hands before I eat and every time I touch something dirty. I also stay away from touching my face as much as possible. When around a lot of people, I try not to get too close. I think that’s a really good thing, having your own bubble, your own personal space.”
Arroso makes a strong point. Most times you get sick, it’s not from someone coughing or sneezing in your face, but more likely from indirect contact with someone already sick. One of the easiest ways germs invade our immune systems is from touching dirty surfaces then immediately touching our faces, whether it’s wiping our noses, biting our nails, or simply itching our eyes. Even if it’s just for an instant, the germs have already spread from them to us.
Arroso, however, isn’t the only student who is working hard to avoid catching a bug. Another Grossmont student, Serena Blackman, had her own plan to stay healthy in the springtime.
“Working out as much as I could and eating a little bit better than I normally do are good places to start,” Blackman said. “No more donuts in the morning!”
Among the many benefits a good diet bestows on a person, strengthening one’s immune system is at the top of the list. For starters, foods high in vitamin C, like oranges, are essential to avoid getting sick and can heal you fast if you do have a cold. Any sort of green produce, as well as green tea, are also beneficial in keeping colds at bay and boosting your immune system in the process. Garlic is also known to bring wellness to those who can get past its bitter taste and strong odor. Finally, a not-so-well-known cold deterrent is wild salmon.
According to Health.com, salmon is high in zinc which is a nutrient proven to assist in simmering down cold symptoms. Foods high in fat and sugar are not the way to go if you want to avoid illnesses.
Dianne Woodson, a registered nurse in the Grossmont College Health and Wellness Center, also gave her professional input into the best strategies to avoid becoming under the weather.
“Good hygiene, drinking plenty of fluids, staying active, and taking allergy medication if you have allergies are some big ones,” Woodson said. “If you feel like you’re starting to feel sick, increase your fluid intake, take wellness vitamins to stay healthy, hand hygiene, staying home when sick, and covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze are the biggest ways to not spread sickness.”
However you choose to combat the constant threat of germs at Grossmont this spring season, keep in mind that while it is for yourself, you’re also doing it for those around you. Be proactive in drinking water, eating healthy and having good personal hygiene.
Instead of spreading germs to other students, make it easier on them and spread cold and flu awareness instead, and stay healthy.