Avoiding Sickness Throughout the Winter

Daniela Christian, Sophomore, Photography Editor

Year after year, the winter proves to be the most frequent time for someone in school to catch a cold. With the help of The Pel Mel, you can escape the seemingly unavoidable sickness season!

One of the easiest ways to protect yourself from the cold and flu this winter is to get the flu vaccine. Although reminders are everywhere (TV commercials, ads, billboards, etc.), people often forget or don’t set aside the time to actually get the shot. Almost every credible source will tell you that getting the flu shot is the best way to protect yourself from the flu and common colds. Mrs.Henry, the PMHS school nurse, suggests that students get their shot early so they can wait for its effects to kick in.

“I’d tell people to try to get their shot early… because it takes about two weeks for it to start working,” Henry said.

Although it does take a while for your body to build up antibodies to fight it, the flu season lasts from October to May, and peaks in December and February. Therefore, getting your flu shot in January (before the second swing of the flu) could still save your from a debilitating illness.

Difficult as it may be to find the time for a full night’s rest, getting the recommended eight to ten hours of sleep gives your immune system enough time to flush your body of any viruses or germs, thus preventing you from getting ill. However, if your busy high school schedule does not allow for eight hours of shut-eye on a regular basis, try to get to bed before two a.m. because the strongest, deepest REM (rapid eye movement) cycles usually occur between two and four a.m.., and are the most important to keeping a healthy body says Dr. Matt Walker, head of the Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab at the University of California, Berkeley.

The winter is a difficult time to motivate yourself to do exercise, especially if you don’t do a winter sport. Nevertheless, exercise has proven to help increase the circulation and blood flow in your body, allowing your white blood cells and immune system to detect illness before it actually spreads and get it out of your body. This can be achieved through minimal amounts of exercise. You don’t need to do a cardio session at the gym. Instead, try walking home instead of driving, or doing twenty jumping jacks in between math problems. A small effort could lead to a major increase in health and a decreased risk of getting sick this winter season.