Winter Care 101

Winter is in full force and so are the wintry weather blues.Even the nation’s HBCUs located in warmer climates are facingthese cold temperature patterns. Students are literally feeling thebrunt of winter and if you let it, the weather can take a toll onyour physical, emotional and social health. You may not be able tofight this cold storm, but there are several ways to cope withit.

Common problems people experience during thisseason are colds and the flu.  According to the Center forDisease Control and Prevention (CDC) an estimated 10 to 20 percentof United States residents get the flu each year. In addition,Americans suffer from 1 billion colds each year and 80 percent ofcolds are contracted during this season.

However, flu cases in the United States havedeclined. According to a weekly report created by the CDC, thenumber of states reporting widespread flu activity continued todecrease during the week of January 11-17. Despite the flu’sdecline, CDC officials have warned that cases could rise in somecommunities or regions because influenza strains peak at differenttimes.

The best ways to treat the common cold and theflu are by getting plenty of rest, drinking lots of fluids, eatingsoups, fruit and vegetables, reducing stress and avoiding alcoholand tobacco products.

“It is entirely to cold and windy. Ifeel like I don’t even live in Atlanta anymore, but inChicago because the other day my hat almost flew off,” saysNicole Camp, a junior sociology major at Spelman College.

Wind is another factor to deal with during thewinter. To solve this problem some people resort to heaters,electric blankets and heating pads. But heat sucks the moisture outof the air causing the low humidity to dry out the skin. To fightdry skin, avoid extremely hot water, harsh soaps, topical vitamin Aproducts, heavy woolen and fuzzy clothing, and excessive handwashing.

“The weather is pretty frigid here. Ihope that it lets up soon so that I can get out and see thecity,” says Jacqueline Copeland. Copeland, a junior ComputerScience major at Howard University is participating in a domesticexchange program at Columbia University this semester. Because ofthe weather conditions Copeland has been forced to stay inside.

Another problem people experience during thisseason is depression. Negative thoughts can be brought on duringthe winter because of weather conditions, social anxiety and lackof light.  Lift your spirits during this season throughexercise, participating in pleasurable activities and gettingsunlight.

By dressing in layers, washing your hands(regularly, not excessively), drinking plenty of fluids, eatingnutritiously, exercising, getting sunlight and staying active youwill have a better chance of staying warm, healthy, happy thiswinter.