Just in time for finals

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Bryan Jarboe--Balancing the flu and finals can be difficult.

Runny noses, chest coughs and headaches – all sure signs that winter is here. Finals week is just around the corner and no one wants to be the student in the back sniffling and coughing while everyone else is trying to concentrate on their finals exams.

Even though we use the convenient hand sanitizer dispensers around campus chances are we may catch the cold or the flu this time of year.

Here are a few helpful tips to increase your chances of having an illness-free finals week.

First, make sure you are vaccinated. California Baptist University offered a free flu clinic this year and getting your flu shot is the first step to a healthy winter. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV) can be expected to reduce the flu by 70 to 90 percent. However your efforts to prevent catching a winter illness shouldn’t stop there.

Second, lather up. Washing your hands frequently and scrupulously as well as avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth will do wonders for your health during the flu season.

“Good hand washing will do more to prevent the spread of illness and respiratory infections than anything else”, Dr. Carolyn C. Lopez, of the American Academy of Family Physicians, said.

Third, take your vitamins. Although Flinstone vitamins may have done the job during childhood, vitamins A, B, C, E and zinc are more likely to win the battle while in college. Vitamin A helps prevent germs, bacteria and viruses from entering the body and wreaking havoc. Vitamin B provides the body with more energy and boosts the immune system. Vitamin C boosts the immune system by creating the proteins responsible for killing viruses and germs. Vitamin E produces proteins that fight viruses and bacteria. According to the National Institutes of Health, zinc has its own role in the immune system by protein synthesis, and therefore also boots the immune system.

Fourth, stay hydrated. Drinking things like water and sports drinks are your best choices. A steaming cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate may seem more appealing but drinks containing caffeine cause our bodies to become more dehydrated.

Last, stay calm and sleep. High anxiety levels and insufficient sleep are your worst enemies during flu season and especially during finals week. All of that stress weakens your immune system and makes you more susceptible to catching the cold or the flu even if you follow steps one through four.

Of course, our common sense plays a significant role in preventing illness. For example, not wearing your favorite skirt or tank top when it’s raining and keeping your distance from those who have already caught something will always reduce your chances of getting sick.

It is especially important to take precautions here at CBU with the recent flu outbreak. The flu is currently affects two percent of the student population and campus faculty. According the the Riverside Department of Environmental Health, the common symptoms of the spreading flu is what is commonly known as the stomache flu, or the Noro virus.

Transmission of the virus may be airborne, touch, oral, fecal, or person- to-person, so CBU urges that all persons entering the Alumni Dining Commons, Brisco’s or Wanda’s wash their hands prior to entering. They also request that those with the virus do not enter any of the three facilities untill you have not experienced the symptoms for at least 72 hours.

Following these steps may not guarantee complete health but it will most definitely increase your chances of a successful finals week and happy holidays.