According to various definitions on the ever so reliable internet , the 'freshman plague' is an epidemic that hits almost all college freshman within the first two months of college. It is also referred to as the freshman flu. Basically, just a really intense cold that seems to manifest itself at the most inconvenient times ever. I am currently writing this article with the help of DayQuil and cough drops - I too, could not avoid the freshman flu. My experience with the freshman flu is not nearly as bad as some of my friends. Here are my tips on how to minimize (or potentially avoid ) the freshman plague.
1. Vitamin C
When you start to notice your friends and roommates not feeling well, that's when you should start taking Vitamin C supplements and/or airborne. Vitamin C is great for the immune system, which will be working hard to fight off the impending cold.
2. Increase water intake.
This is important for both before and during a cold. Water helps the body stay hydrated, and in turn helps all the systems ( including the immune system) work at the peak of their abilities. During a cold, water will help flush all of the toxins out of your body so that you can start to heal.
This tip mainly applies before the sickness actually sets in. If other people around you are getting sick, an hour at the gym a few times a week is a great way to boost your immune system. On the other hand, if you are already sick, I would recommend taking at least the first day off from working out - your body needs the energy to get better.
4. Fresh air
It may seem counterintuitive to go outside where there are more pollens and allergens but fresh air is good for the body and the soul and also helps get you out of pathogen infested air. Taking a short 20 minute casual walk can do wonders for your frame of mind and your health.
Okay, this one is a bit cliche but it's for a reason - it works! i'm not going to suggest 8+ hours of sleep every night, as I know that is next to impossible. I will say it is important to listen to your body and rest when you need to , even if it just for 10 minutes. If you are sick, I would suggest getting 8 hours for at least one night. Picking one night to sleep can prevent you from getting worse and having to miss out on more nights of fun.
If you find that you have been doing these things for a few weeks and you still aren't getting better, I would urge you to go to your health center (it could be something more than the freshman flu). If you find yourself with the freshman plague, accept it as a rite of passage and remember how crappy you feel now , and hold an attitude of gratitude when you get better.