It seems like just yesterday that the quarter began, but already the pressure of finals is quickly approaching. For the weeks when schoolwork tends to take over your life, it’s difficult to care about anything except success in your classes. You start to lead an abnormal life, forgetting a meal here and there or adopting vampire-like sleeping habits. Often, you don’t even realize the effect all this studying has had until it’s too late and the sneezing all over your notes and constant coughing has begun.

    Shawn No

    “”When you are stressed, your body’s immune response is probably hindered. Combined with lack of sleep or food, your body is more prone to Œcatch’ the common cold or flu,”” said Jason Lam, student pharmacist at the UCSD School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

    Luckily, by implementing these simple precautions into your daily routine, you can avoid possible encounters with dreaded sicknesses.

    Sleep ‹ Let’s be real here

    Though it is the most relaxing and stress-free thing to do, who has hours on end to kill just lying in bed when you have a midterm and two papers due in the next two days? While sleep may seem like the easiest thing to give up when time becomes scarce, losing sleep is one of the worst things you can do to your body. When you don’t get enough sleep, you lose your ability to focus and your body doesn’t have the rest it requires to fight off sicknesses. A full eight hours of sleep may sound like a far-off goal, but try to spend your time awake more efficiently to get as much sleep as possible.

    “”If you find that you study the best late at night, make sure you get six to eight hours of sleep. Students often push three to four hours when they’re stressed,”” Lam said.

    Plenty of sleep is vital to your health, and even short naps can re-energize you for a night of studying.

    Food ‹ The good stuff

    College students tend to forget what’s right to eat when Mom isn’t there to cook it for them, and you can’t live off Doritos, Top Ramen, Hot Pockets and Cherry Coke forever. The keys to eating right are making sure you find time to eat and maintaining a well-balanced diet. Student Health Nutritional Services’ “”Recipe for Success”” suggests that having a well-balanced diet means following the food pyramid, cutting back on portion sizes, and eating more heart-healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables and fewer junk food items and sweets.

    “”Students that resort to a take-out diet of Domino’s and hamburgers are susceptible to fatigue from over-eating, weight gain and a high-fat diet,”” said Russell Luke, another student pharmacist. “”Conversely, students that skip meals are also subject to fatigue and a lower immune response.””

    Eating right will give you the energy and nutritional value you need to get you through your days without getting sick.

    Vitamins ‹ More than Flintstones chewables

    Although swallowing a small pill may seem useless, taking vitamins can actually help you stay healthy and ward off germs.

    “”We often hear about certain vitamins, such as vitamin C, or herbs such as Echinacea that can help,”” Lam said. “”For students in their early 20s, it is helpful and important to at least take a multivitamin on a daily basis.””

    Taking a multivitamin daily to boost your energy gives your body everything it needs but is denied through dining hall meals. When you get sick of drinking orange juice, or your friends and roommates start to get sick, make sure you have a stash of extra vitamins to protect you against flu-causing germs.

    Water ‹ Your new best friend

    You know all those people you see walking around campus carrying water bottles? Well, they’re not doing it just to make a fashion statement. They know that keeping the body hydrated is an easy way to stay healthy.

    “”Drink lots of water and less soda, caffeinated drinks and juice.,”” Luke said. “”Water also prevents headaches caused by dehydration and helps to eliminate toxins and impurities in your body faster.””

    It’s better to have too much rather than too little water in your system, so buy a case and drink up!

    Fresh air ‹ Wear a jacket if you need to!

    Trapped in a stuffy dorm room is no way to stay healthy, so be sure to open your window, even if it’s cold outside. The open window will provide an escape route for germ-filled air and an entrance for the fresh air you love to breathe.

    Exercise ‹ It does more than make you buff

    Student Health recommends exercising for at least 30 minutes three times per week. By trekking all the way to RIMAC or Main Gym, you’re doing yourself a favor, especially during finals time, because exercise provides a good break from the stress of studying.

    “”Exercising will help you maintain a healthy immune system, weight control, increase energy levels, reduce the symptoms of stress, and it is something that will benefit you for the rest of your life,”” Luke said.

    Common Sense ‹ You have it, so use it

    Remember to keep your distance from other people infected by contagious germs and keep your mouth off of their drinks. Also, wash your hands several times a day. These are simple ways to avoid the spread of germs. Use your best judgment because even little actions on your part can play a big role in staying healthy. After all, no one can afford to get sick during finals crunch time.

    However, Lam also recommends that you “”balance the studying with fun. No effort should go unrewarded.””

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