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(Source: Tribune News Service)

At this point in the semester, few students can afford to be sick — there are finals to take, papers to write and classes to attend. But none of that matters to the microbes spreading around campus.

Among students interviewed about solutions to avoid falling ill, Porter Lunceford said a good way to stay healthy is “taking care of yourself the way you should be normally, getting the right amount of sleep and eating when you need to.”

Sleep particularly is vital in maintaining one’s health. It allows the body to rest, recover and fight off germs it may have picked up during the day.

According to the Mayo Clinic it is important to have a routine sleep schedule. If a person is unable to fall asleep within 15 minutes of laying down Mayo Clinic suggests getting up and doing something relaxing and then trying to sleep again when they feel tired.

Concerning how to maintain one’s mental health, during REM (or rapid eye movement) sleep, the brain sorts and categorizes the information it took in over the course of the day. Without adequate sleep, there’s no opportunity for the mind to “reset,” so to speak.

Another recommendation was to drink enough water. While no ideal amount of water intake has been reached by researchers it is important to get enough throughout the day, and this can vary from individual to individual.

It can be easy to get caught up in all the pumpkin spice lattes, peppermint hot chocolates and warm apple ciders, but what’s more important is to drink enough water and exercise during the winter as much as one would during the summer.

“My advice would be to drink lots of liquid,” WSU student Jared Kitchen said. “Normally, when it gets cold, people stop drinking water, but your body still needs that to stay healthy.”

Not only is skipping water for a peppermint mocha from Starbucks unhealthy, the calorie counts of lattes and hot cocoa are massive. They’re packed full of sugars and simple carbs that can promote lethargy and can actually dehydrate the body.

That is not to say that hot beverages are the source of illness. Breanna Reimer suggests that students drink peppermint tea.

“I drink a couple cups of peppermint tea, with a little lemon in it, and it helps,” Reimer said.

Tea has been known to have soothing properties in the case of sore throats, and the peppermint can help clear sinuses.

Beyond these, there are always basic strategies students can employ: washing their hands, covering their mouths when sneezing and coughing and staying home if they’re sick.

It can be difficult to remember that health should be a priority during finals season. Yes, students should worry about grades and test scores, but it can be difficult to focus on getting good grades while dealing with a sore throat and violent coughing fits.

Students experiencing illness can turn to campus resources such as the Health Center located in the Student Services building on the WSU main campus in room 190 and at the Davis campus in building D2 in room 220.

Updated on Nov. 29, 2016

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