How to keep healthy this flu season

Marin Worley

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Have you recently been sick? Are you fearing the flu season? Do you understand the important and necessary steps to maintain health?

Many students do not take the necessary precautions to avoid illness, so many become sick. There are necessary and easy steps to prevent illness and to maintain health throughout the school year, not just during the height of flu season.

The Announcer sat down with School Nurse and RN Kathy Gross to learn more information and steps to protect one’s self from illness. The first step to maintain health, according to Gross, is “to maintain a regular sleep schedule.” She suggests that one should get up at the same time every day. A way to maintain a regular sleep schedule is to try to finish schoolwork as early in the day as possible, alleviating the need to stay up late and diminishing late night stress.

Gross goes on to say, “The optimal amount of sleep for a teenager is 9-10 hours per night.” It is likely that most students are not achieving this sleep goal. With full school work loads and many students working outside of school, a 9-10 hour sleep goal may seem impossible.

In addition to school and work responsibilities, many teens take away valuable sleep time in exchange for screen time. One way to diminish the distraction of late night screen use, is to leave all electronics outside of one’s room, preventing alerts, notifications, and temptations to text or play games.

It’s not just enough to silence a device because it will still make a distracting, vibrating noise. This can still prevent a teenager from trying to fall asleep, as the noise will alert them that there is a notification available to view. Another negative effect of electronic devices in one’s bedroom is that the blue light emitted can disrupt one’s circadian rhythm: a process in the body that correlates with the body’s internal clock.

The best way to eliminate sleep distractions is to leave all electronic devices outside of the room where one sleeps.

Additionally, Gross says that it is very important to receive a flu shot, as this usually prevents the flu. Another precaution is thoroughly washing hands with soap and water throughout the day. Surprising to some, she goes on to say that it is more beneficial to wash one’s hands with soap and water than it is to use hand sanitizer.

Overall, it is very important that one take precautions to avoid illness. Maintain your health through a regular sleep schedule, getting 9-10 hours per night, avoiding disruptions to your sleep schedule, and eliminating the use of electronics before bed.

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