The Calgary Journal
The Calgary Journal

Experts weigh in on staying health this fall

sickDo you feel like somebody tied weights on your arms and legs? That you could sleep the whole day, if it wasn't for the alarm ringing? Do you have a runny nose and sore throat?

Here's some comfort for you: there are many other people struggling with a cold during this time of year.

sick-studentMRU-student Judith Scholz fighting her cold by getting enough rest and drinking lots of hot tea.

Photo by: Verena Isak

One of them is Judith Scholz, a second-year tourism management student at Mount Royal University (MRU).

"It started with a sore throat and a cough, later on I had fever as well. I felt so tired and exhausted," she said. "I was lying in my bed and felt hot and cold at the same time."

So she stayed a few days at home to get enough rest and drank hot tea. She said she believes the best thing to do is not going out until you feel better.

But why do people catch a cold so easily in the fall season?

"When it is cold, people stay inside. They are closer to each other, so the virus can spread easily," said Thomas Yeung, a pharmacist in Wyckham house

"It is always debatable if cold weather causes colds. It might affect the immunity, but colds are caused by viruses, so the weather does not directly affect the risk of getting a cold."

Symptoms for a common cold

Vishnu Shenoy, a nursing instructor at MRU, said people's bodies normally feel "drained and exhausted,"with some people even feeling a little depressed.

"A common cold starts with a sore throat, progresses with nose symptoms and then a cough," Yeung added. "It is most contagious in the first stages. Be careful where you cough and sneeze – sneeze in your arms."

Shenoy said college students increase the chances of spreading the cold virus because of their "doesn't kill me, doesn't hurt me" attitude — meaning they still go out and hang out with friends even when sick.

The best thing to do however, is get enough rest and stay hydrated by drinking water and hot tea, he added.

"The immune system of a normal individual takes care of it and attacks the bugs," he stated, but if you're already sick, "there is not really much you can do about it."

"Medication is more for symptom relief than to fight the cold."

Six ways to avoid a cold

If you're among the lucky ones who haven't caught a cold yet and want to keep it that way, keep these few rules in mind:

  • Keep moving: Regular exercise is important for a healthy lifestyle and cardio is important, according to Yeung. If you are just can't find the way to the gym, try at least to go for walks. "It's better than nothing," he said.
  • Eat right: Vegetables and fruits contain a lot of vitamins. If your body lacks vitamins, your immune system is weaker, Yeung stated.
  • Drink lots: "Make sure to drink at least two liters of water a day," said Shenoy. "Too much alcohol weakens the immune system."
  • Wear the right clothes: As soon as the sun hides behind clouds, it's getting chilly. Shenoy suggests dressing in layers to stay warm.
  • Wash your hands: Whether it is the door handle, the computer keyboard or the handle on the bus – it is full with of germs. "You should actually wash your hands for about 20 seconds," says Yeung. Some people say 'Happy Birthday' twice while they wash their hands. Also, avoid too much contact with people who are already sick, he said.
  • Watch your attitude: "Positive thinking helps. When you are stressed out, it affects the immune system," Shenoy says.

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