By Robert Wheatley – Health and Innovations Editor
Yes, there are things worse than exams, and these exist at a microscopic level: microorganisms! Unlike standardised testing, no amount of revision combats illness; it requires plenty of rest and fluids, much like the average student does after exams are over. Why do we get sick in the winter more often? Believe it or not, we’re not entirely sure, but scientists posit a few factors from genes changing as the seasons roll on, our likeliness of spending more time inside where cold germs can spread, or maybe something as simple as some germs preferring to stick around during the winter.
You probably already know that colds and flu are more likely to strike when it gets colder, and we’ll get to those in a moment, but did you know heart attacks are more common too? Blood pressure increases during the winter to allow your body to remain heated, and the heart works more to do so, causing it more strain. Fear not: it’s not just the cold that could cause such a health risk, but factors that contribute to Coronary heart disease like high-fat diets and high blood pressure. To prevent such a risk, other than reducing the aforementioned factors, ensure you keep warm whenever possible in your home and outside to prevent your heart from working more than it needs to.
Sorry if we’ve startled you — however, it’s best to know the risks the winter brings, after all…
That’s an original joke, if I’ve ever seen one.
The common cold is as the name describes, a Level 1 monster that doesn’t take too long to kill with the weapon you started with, rest. Also, fluids and eating healthy helps too. You can tell you’re up against it when your throat hurts, your nose is blocked and you cough a lot, although these symptoms can of course be managed by over-the-counter medication. Want to avoid it? Take an alternative path through the valley of Washing Your Dang Hands, and make sure to clean out your inventory.
It’s riskier for vulnerable people of an older or younger age, those with weakened immune systems and long-term medical conditions, but the flu affects everyone. It’s a step above a cold, typical symptoms including a fever, weakness and muscular pain and takes longer to recover from. Like the cold, it’s treatment is plenty of rest and fluids, but if you start to feel chest pain or find it harder to breath, it’s time to see a doctor. You can help prevent the flu with the flu vaccine, which you can get at the College Lane Campus Pharmacy.
Known also as the winter vomiting bug, the Norovirus is a short-lived yet highly infectious bug. Symptoms include sudden sickness, vomiting, watery diarrhoea and reminiscing of the times prior to having it. It goes away after a couple of days, but ensure you get plenty of fluids to replace the ones unpleasantly lost, and rest at home. Also, make sure you actually wash your hands — solely using antibacterial gel won’t cut it.
If you have preexisting conditions like Asthma, ensure you keep your inhaler and medication with you, and cover up your face with a scarf to prevent shortness of breath and wheezing. Certain infections can actually worsen your condition, so eat healthy, get vaccinated and avoid smoking (College Lane campus has a free stop-smoking service, too!). Combat dry skin conditions with moisturiser after showering, and ensure you exercise when possible to help blood circulation and up your physical fitness to potentially help with immunity.
Oh, and most importantly…