By: Shelby Kuzminski
*Cough, Cough* Winter is the worst time for sickness to spread. Whether it is a stuffy nose or cold, it’s never easy trying to recover. For all of us in Northwestern Pennsylvania, it is close quarters during the winter months and a big number of us do not go outside as much as we would in other seasons. However, many people do not take the extra steps in protecting themselves from diseases or illnesses during this germy time. In order to stay healthy this season, The Squire has some tips that may just help.
First, we started with conducting some online research. According to piedmont.org, to stay healthy, there are five easy steps to follow. One: eat healthy meals. Eating healthy will help build up your immune system and will help your overall health in the long run. Second: exercise regularly. Many of us here at Eisenhower participate in winter sports and exercise each day, but for those who don’t, you need to get up and get moving! Build up your mitochondria as Mrs. Swanson would say. Third: get plenty of sleep each night. As teenagers, we like to sleep a lot, but we also like to stay up late. Not getting enough hours of sleep will make you tired and worn down, and could even effect your concentration at school. Fourth: practice good hygiene. WASH YOUR HANDS! Wash your hands after blowing your nose, before preparing food, and after using the bathroom. Nobody wants your germs. If soap and water aren’t available, use the hand sanitizer in each classroom. Fifth: get vaccinated yearly. It will not only protect you but protect others as well.
For the second step of research, The Squire interviewed Mrs. Wagner, the school nurse at Eisenhower. She shared some great tips to stay healthy and some suggestions about what to do if you are sick.
Ways to stop the spread of germs.
1) Wash hands frequently: this is the number one thing you can do! Hands should be washed for at least 20 seconds, include all surfaces of hands and fingers and dry hands thoroughly. If you are unable to wash your hands, use hand sanitizer.
2) Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. Droplets may travel up to six feet. Using a tissue is best, followed by washing hands/hand sanitizer. If no tissue is available, cough/sneeze into your elbow.
3) Keep your hands away from your face. Germs enter the body through the mouth, nose and eyes, plus openings in the skin.
4) Do not share straws, cups/water bottles, eating utensils, and/or personal items.
Ways to stay healthy in the winter:
- Eat a well-balanced diet including fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and healthy carbohydrates.
- Stay hydrated: drink plenty water/fluids throughout the day.
- Get enough sleep: the body needs time to rest and refuel!
- Exercise: Turn off the TV, put away the video games, iPad, and phones; you should have 30-60 minutes of physical activity a day.
- Wash your hands frequently and stay away from others that are ill.
- Dress appropriately for the weather.
When you are sick:
- Drink plenty of fluids, such as water, juice, and/or broth.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Stay home if you don’t feel well.
- With parental guidance, over the counter medications may help.
- Contact your doctor for fevers, chills, coughing, vomiting/diarrhea or if mild symptoms persist.
- If symptoms worsen, such as high fever, difficulty breathing, or being unable to eat/drink, you may need urgent/ER care.
Overall, staying healthy and recovering from colds, the flu, and other illnesses can be challenging. Putting forth the effort to prevent the illness in the first place will help you in the long run. A big thank you to Mrs. Wagner for all the great tips on staying healthy this winter. The Squire hopes each reader will take into consideration all the information provided and have a happy, healthy winter season.