Staying healthy during cold, flu season

Fall has officially arrive, and that means cold and flu season is in full swing once again. As much as we may wish that we could hibernate through the dry coughs, fatigue and runny noses, learning how to get through it is just a part of life. Just because we’re more prone to being sick or gaining weight in the colder months doesn’t mean that it has to be like that. In fact, fall provides a great opportunity to begin or continue to develop healthy habits that can make our lives easier and more comfortable in the long run.

1. Flu Shot, Flu Shot, Flu Shot

Cooler temperatures are a pleasant change from the humid Kansas summers. It comes at a price, though, when sickness starts to get spread around like wild fire. Luckily, there is a simple solution for combatting this each year: getting a flu shot. According the U.S Center of Disease Control and Prevention, “The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine each season.” Flu shots are easily administered by Student Health Services, available Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Morgan 140. Shots are just $15.

2. Don’t Give Up on the Pumpkin

So far in 2017, we have seen more than our fair share of pumpkin related products (pumpkins spice latte, pumpkin spice Pringles, pumpkin spice margarine, etc.). While some may be over the pumpkin craze already, you shouldn’t give up on the pumpkin just yet. According to Medical News Today, pumpkins are a great source of both vitamins A and C. These vitamins play a critical role in creating white blood cells, which aid the body’s immune system. Pumpkin seeds, too, are rich in protein, which helps build muscle, and fiber,  a nutrient that helps you feel fuller longer. So while you should probably skip sugary lattes and baked goods that incorporate pumpkin, dishes like fettuccine alfredo, squash soup and spinach salads can easily incorporate pumpkin healthily.

3. Head Outside

Our first instinct when the temperature drops is to stay inside and in bed. While this is relaxing, becoming sedentary is a key factor in seasonal weight gain. Head outside and reap the spoils of autumn. The color change in the leaves offer a beautiful walk across Washburn’s campus with friends, and the cooler temperature makes jogging a less sweaty endeavor. Go on a nature walk around Lake Shawnee, curl up by an outdoor fire pit, go camping, play football or take a hay ride– there are endless ways to enjoy yourself outdoors in the fall. The obvious health benefits of staying active in the cooler months aside, vitamin D from venturing outside on the regular can boost your immune system to combat cold and flu season. Remaining active can also help one maintain one good mental health, as fall and winter are notorious for seasonal depression.

Peter Pfannenstiel, [email protected], is a senior Kinesiology major.