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Staying Healthy at SHU

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With the weather changing, that means an increase in allergies and illnesses on the Siena Heights campus.

According to Sister Sharon Spanbauer, the director of Health Service on campus, influenza, respiratory colds and gastroenteritis are going around.

The best way to prevent these illnesses from spreading, she said, is to keep your hands washed, away from your face and to get enough rest.

Spanbauer recently read a study in which they took two groups of college students. One didn’t have enough sleep, and the other had the required amount. They sprayed the cold virus up each group’s noses.

Which one got sick? The students who weren’t getting enough sleep. Spanbauer commented on how the study seemed a little evil, but how it showed such an important point.

“Our immune system tanks when we’re stressed, tired, and not eating healthy,” she said.

This year, Spanbauer ordered 300 doses of the flu shot. She estimates that roughly 150-200 students received the shot.

“You don’t get it for you,” said Spanbauer. “You get it for babies and your grandparents you may see, because if they were to catch the virus. It could kill them. Whereas we would just be miserable for a couple of days.”

If students begin to feel sick, Spanbauer advises they listen to their own common sense.

“It doesn’t hurt to have someone check you over, though,” she added.

She said most of the Residence Life Assistants should be equipped with thermometers, so if students feel a fever coming on – usually a sign of illness – feel free to use this resource.

However, fevers aren’t always bad. Some viruses can only live in certain temperatures, so a fever may be your body’s way of killing the virus, Spanbauer said.

Spanbauer also talked of some phone apps that can help students. Wellness doesn’t just mean physically, but also emotionally, spiritually, socially, intellectually and environmentally. Mend is an app that offers a step-by-step process to getting over a broken heart. Another one she recommends is Calm. She sees a lot of people with anxiety, and this app helps with deep breathing exercises.

“Deep breathing exercises literally lowers the level of stress hormones in the body,” she said.

All in all, as Spanbauer put it, “we do the best we can.”

“Eat a balanced diet, get rest and hydration, and stay away from the pop,” she concluded.

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Staying Healthy at SHU