10 Tips To Keep You Healthy Because The Outbreak Of Germs Is Literally Inevitable

10 Tips To Keep You Healthy Because The Outbreak Of Germs Is Literally Inevitable

There is a high chance that if you are reading this you are or have already been sick this school year.

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I have been in school for two weeks now, and so far the experience has been amazing! Great friends, fun classes, AMAZING food at the dining halls, and of course the spread of bacteria and highly contagious colds.

That took a harsh turn.

But it's true. This is the time of year where everyone gets sick. You are away from school for about three months, and then you all are put into one building with thousands of other infected humans, which in the end leads to the spread of germs. It is inevitable, and unless your immune system has the superpowers of Superman, you don't have a chance of not getting sick. Right now I'm battling through a what I believe is to be a sinus infection. I did not go to the doctor's office on campus because 1) I have no idea where it is and 2) I feel like I got hit by a truck every time I wake up, so I really don't feel like walking a lot. It all started out with my throat feeling extremely sore, and then gradually my nose started to get congested. You should see my trash can in my dorm room, it is FILLED with tissues.

So why am I making this article about germs? Well, there are a couple of reasons as to why I am typing this. 1) Everyone should be aware of how to stay healthy this time of year 2) I really do not have another topic for this week and 3) Being sick is all anyone is talking about in my friend group so that's what you all are going to get.

I'm going to give you TEN different ways to make sure you stay healthy during this season so that you do not receive any germs nor spread them to other people.

1. WASH YOUR HANDS

I feel like this is a very simple concept. You should have learned this back in preschool. Always use soap, use cold water to kill the germs, and take your time! Seriously just wash your hands. Especially after using the bathroom. Listen, no one wants to come in contact with a person who does not wash their hands after going to the bathroom. Your hands contain more germs than a toilet seat does. So imagine those two being combined! Disgusting.

2. COVER YOUR MOUTH WHEN YOU COUGH/SNEEZE

If your school didn't show you those ridiculous tutorials on how to cover a sneeze, then you were failed as a child. Seriously, no one wants feel the warm texture of mucus or germs blown on them when you cough and/or sneeze. That is probably one of my worst pet peeves. DON'T COUGH IN YOUR HANDS! That is unsanitary and just completely wrong. That is exactly how diseases and viruses are spread. Do the Superman sweep! When in doubt that is the best move to do when you cough or sneeze.

3. GET REST

Sleeping is one of the best ways to regenerate your body. I get it, you're busy with school work and extracurriculars after school. Taking a 30 minute nap or getting to bed early will help you feel better. If your body feels tired, then it won't be able to fight off the germs infecting it. Common sense. Don't stay up late stressing about an assignment or watching YouTube videos (guilty of that) because your body will not have the time to get stronger in order for you to feel better.

4. EAT HEALTHY FOODS

I'm guilty of this. Ever since I came to college I have been eating so unhealthily and it is not okay for my body. I try my best to, but if I see a grilled cheese with fries, you bet I am going to get two plates of those for my meal. No but in all honesty, eat some fruits and vegetables. It will not kill you to eat a small bowl of grapes or eat an apple on your way to class. Eating healthy gives your body the nutrients to fight off germs to maintain a healthy immune system.

5. DRINK TEA

Okay, I am not a huge fan of tea, but it helps so much. If you have a bad cough or sore throat, tea is 100% the way to go. Suck it up and drink the tea. I promise you it will make you feel better in the long run. They literally make a specific kind of tea for the throat. I totally forget the brand name, but you could probably go to any grocery store and find a box of tea bags for your throat.

6. HUMIDIFIERS ARE YOUR BEST FRIEND

I cannot tell you how many times I have used a humidifier to feel better. Plug that sucker in at night and it'll make the air less dry. It cleanses your respiratory system and truly I believe it works. You can even buy a tiny one for about fifteen dollars at a pharmacy store that you can use whenever. You fill it up with water, and put your mouth over the device and use it for as long as you want. I use that whenever I have a bad cold and I love it. HIGHLY recommend this utility.

7. STAY HOME

Dude, if you're sick just stay in bed. This obviously ties in with my tip on getting rest, but if you're sick why go out in the world where there are more germs? You don't want to get more sick and you don't want to get anyone else sick. This is basically common courtesy. Take the day off of school or work, and rest up!

8. HYDRATE OR DYDRATE

Water. H20. Aqua. You need it to survive. Stay hydrated! Water clears out all the yucky stuff in your body, and it is good for you. Also, your body is made up of a lot of water so you might as well fuel that up. Always have a water bottle on you and fill it up when it gets empty. Water = good. No water = More sickness for you.

9. SEE A DOCTOR

Set up an appointment and get those meds to feel better! The amount of Claritin and other medicine I have taken the past few days is ridiculous, but I am feeling better! If you think you have a small cold and you want to get medicine at your local pharmacy, do it. It is worth the money and you obviously want to feel better right? If you feel like you have something serious, schedule an appointment at the doctor's office to see what is wrong. It is worth the trip.

10. EXERCISE

Ew. Working out. I know, not a lot of people like to do this, but it helps! I'm going to the gym with a few friends after I finish typing this because I know it will help me feel better. You don't have to go to the gym for hours on end, but getting outside for a walk, or going to lift weights creates a stronger body for yourself. Even if it is just thirty minutes a day, exercising can help you maintain a healthy immune system.

I really hope these tips help those of you who are sick. If you haven't gotten sick yet, don't worry you definitely will. And when that happens, come check out this article again for some healthy tips! Really though, try to stay healthy and clean the next few weeks. Colds and viruses are going around, and you don't want to get caught in the middle of that. Stay healthy!

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

From an outside perspective, suicidal thoughts are rarely looked into deeper than the surface level. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is that people live in between those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead.

You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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All the PB & Js I Never Had

Growing up with a peanut allergy, and how I was cured of it.

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When I was three years old, I went to birthday party for a friend who lived up the street. Our moms met at the grocery store while browsing through the cereal aisle. I grew up running in their backyard, playing with toys and climbing the ladders and slides on their jungle gym. It was a place of laughter; summertime sunshine, bruised knees, birthday cakes, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

That afternoon, I told my mother I was hungry. So she went over to the food table and plucked a few various items here and there to give me a variety of choices on my plate: maybe some mac n cheese, or a chocolate chip cookie. Some potato chips and a couple vegetables, just to give it a shot to see if I'd have any of it. And, of course, half of a peanut butter and strawberry jelly sandwich. When my mother presented my plate, I went with the PB and J. It took one bite.

Within five minutes, my mom noticed the swelling red marks dotted on my skin. Across my arms where my hands had grazed, across my mouth and my cheeks.

The allergist did prick tests and blood tests and all sorts of checks. After two weeks, I was diagnosed with a peanut allergy. Although my allergy was minor at three years old, with time it would worsen. They said that within a few years, if I ingested a peanut, I was capable of experiencing anaphylactic shock: my throat would close in on itself, oxygen would fail to reach my lungs, my body would self destruct. To parents of a young child, this is obviously terrifying.

I was prescribed an epinephrine pen; we had an 'EpiPen' in every room in our house. There was one at school. There was one at my summer camps, and at the homes of close friends. From then on, I was designated to sit at the dreadful 'peanut free' table in the far corner of our elementary school cafeteria. At restaurants, our waiter was always drilled on the chef's awareness to allergies, what oils they fry their chicken in, or what kind of nuts are in the dressings. So much for desserts; who knows if the ice cream scooper delved into the Reese's before the cookies n cream. There was too much of a likelihood of cross-contamination; it's not worth the risk. The repetitive statement I was lectured upon as a young child- avoid peanuts at all costs-eventually left a permanent mark in my existence.

From then on, my plate at birthday parties often consisted of food brought from home; processed in a nut free facility, brownies made from scratch. Maybe I'd be lucky if there was pasta available. Or sometimes, there'd be nothing at all.

At one point, the allergy seemed to brand my existence, becoming part of my identity. Around the time I was diagnosed, my parents noticed how much more shy I became. I would often seclude into myself, much like how we strove to stray clear of any potential threats to my safety. It just simply became another quality, as obvious as the color of my eyes. I was trained to always check the ingredients on granola bar packets and move to another seat on the school bus if even the slightest trace of peanuts crept up my nose.

And so for my entire childhood, I was that girl with the peanut allergy. Things can clearly be worse. I didn't suffer, I still grew to be happy and healthy without skippy jars in our pantry. By the time I was in high school, it was just the way it was. In the grand scheme of things, my allergy was an inconvenience, a reminder of childhood insecurity, and a perpetual fear of a potential disaster.

When you avoid something your entire life, it's strange when someone tells you it's okay to eat it. Especially your parents.

As I progressed through my high school years, my parents became concerned about my allergy while I was in college. Despite their faith in my independence, they feared that lacking a safety net in the form of themselves could result in some sort of allergic reaction, if I was accidentally careless in the university cafeteria or out late for dinner with friends.

That's when my parents heard about a treatment plan headed up at Stanford, called the oral immunotherapy study, or OIT for short. Doctors realized a connection between patients ingesting allergens as a form of treatment for their allergy. Focusing on children, doctors would present an allergen in the smallest dosage imaginable, and the patient would eat it. Over time, the dosage would gradually increase, until they were able to consume more every day. And after the dosage reached a certain capacity, these children were considered allergy free.

My mother placed me on a waiting list, and for three years we waited. Over the course of this time, I experienced initial reluctance to undergo this treatment. I respected the reasons why my parents were so adamant about the treatment, but, to be honest, I was kind of scared. When you're told your whole life that peanuts can kill you, it leaves an impression. What if I was a case where it didn't work, an exception? Or what if I ingested too much too fast?

As I considered undergoing the treatment, I thought about how different things would be. It may not seem like much. If you really think about it, though, it's crazy that I never knew what a kid's staple lunch meal tasted like. Sure, I had almond butter and sunflower butter (my friends loved to tease me for this of course), but that's not the same. And there wasn't a single meal that went by where I looked down at my plate and knew I was safe. Strange to think about how much uncertainty I endured.

So when I was the next patient on the waiting list, I decided to try.

For the next year, my parents and I would make a monthly trek to Long Beach Children's Hospital. The office was welcoming. Each room filled with families and kids, just like me, younger and older, about to undergo a life-changing endeavor. Dr. Inderpal Randhawa introduced himself to us. He had successfully cured thousands of patients with allergies to nuts, dairy, egg, soy, wheat, seeds, shellfish, and others. I was next.

To begin, they first confirmed my immunity to other allergies, which was tested with various food challenges. Afterward, I was awarded my first dosage of peanuts. Within a small plastic vile mainly comprised of water, the slightest trace of peanut protein dissolved itself in the solution. Each day I drank from a little vile. Gradually, over weeks and weeks, the dosage of peanut extract increased. Until, finally, I had reached a tolerance great enough to ingest a single peanut.

When I ate it, my mom burst into tears. It may seem ridiculous. It's just a peanut. It wasn't always just a peanut, though. It was dangerous and life-threatening. But now, yes, that's all it was. For a parent who had lived in constant worry of a potential reaction, who had rid any peanuts, peanut butter, 'manufactured in a facility,' 'may contain' or 'contains' from our kitchen, this was a big day.

By the next week, I was eating three peanuts a day. Then five; ten; twenty; thirty. Like medicine or vitamins, I consumed the food every day. I was giving exactly what my body hated most until it learned how to process it. Eventually, I was incorporating other products into my diet: peanut butter, Snickers, Reese's, trail mix, peanut butter protein bars, you name it.

In total, the treatment took about two years, and I successfully completed the whole process last summer. I can honestly say I love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. When I go home from school on weekends, there's peanut butter in the pantry, one of my brother's staples now. I can eat Thai and Chinese food without a hint of stress. And I only have one EpiPen, just in case.

Growing up, I was lucky. I never experienced a serious reaction like many, never experienced an emergency trip in the ambulance. In the grand scheme of things, I'm a minor case. Regardless, this treatment has changed my life. For those who have numerous allergies, or more serious ones, I'm sure it would change theirs even more so. For the rest of my life, I will never be held back from dinner dates with friends, or traveling to foreign countries, buying groceries or sharing food with roommates. For anyone who has an allergy, I can't stress enough how wonderful it is. The reward is greater than any fears you may have. Sign up, take a leap of faith. It's worth the wait.

Yeah, I missed out on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for eighteen years. But I'm catching up on them now, and it won't be a problem.

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