Health Tips for the Holidays – How To Keep Your Students Safe This Winter Season

Staying healthy — it’s on everybody’s minds lately. With the holiday season fast approaching, we all need to decide how to celebrate without jeopardizing anyone’s safety — and that includes college students!

Just because students aren’t in the CDC’s high-risk category doesn’t mean that they should take COVID-19 lightly. As a parent, it’s important to encourage your student to take extra precautions, especially if they’re traveling to and from school. As your young scholar begins gearing up for the holiday season, please remind them to make health a top priority for everyone’s well being. 

 So, what health strategies can you suggest to your student? We all know the standard CDC safety protocols by now: hand-washing, social distancing and wearing a face mask. However, there are plenty of other precautions that college students should take at this time of year. Be sure to sprinkle a few of these holiday season health tips into conversations with your college student.  

FIVE HEALTH HACKS FOR THE HOLIDAYS

High-Altitude Hydration – Why Airplane Passengers Need Extra Water

Whether your student is traveling home or staying put on campus this winter, one thing is for sure—they need to drink more H2O. Even adults are notorious for not staying hydrated. In fact, roughly 75 percent of Americans are “chronically dehydrated.”  

So now more than ever, we all need a hydration boost to keep our bodies functioning properly. This is extra important for students traveling by air since the humidity in a plane’s cabin is incredibly low. To stave off dehydration, doctors recommend consuming at least eight ounces of water per hour of flight time.  

To supercharge your student’s immune system, suggest adding a squirt of citrus to their water. Not only does this add some zing to a boring bottle of water, it also works as an all-natural Vitamin C supplement. Hey, if lemons kept pirates from getting scurvy, they could certainly help kick out nasty bugs in the modern world!  

MICROBE HEALTH STARTS AT THE MUSCLES – SUGGEST AN EXERCISE REGIMEN

Along with hydration and healthy eating, regular exercise is one of the hallmarks of a healthy lifestyle. Researchers at the University of Texas now suggest enhanced circulation from exercise could help with lymphatic drainage, and as a result, improve our immune health.   

Although we all know how crucial exercise is for optimal health, it can be difficult to get students out of their “sedentary slump”. You may have heard medical experts say that “sitting is the new smoking.” While that might be a tad overdramatic, it’s true that most of us aren’t moving as much as we should especially when we’re working.  

 If you don’t feel comfortable with your student going to a gym, consider mentioning outdoor activities like walking, biking or jogging. You could also suggest they invest in an adjustable standing desk so they don’t have to sit while using a laptop. 

 During the pandemic, many universities are offering virtual fitness courses students can take advantage of. Whether your student is into Tai Chi, yoga or traditional cardio, there should be a way for them to participate in a variety of activities at their college. Just be sure your student doesn’t count “e-sports” as their daily exercise!  

TECH-SAVVY SPIRITUALISM – LOOK INTO MEDITATION APPS

Nowadays, more people are aware that a regular meditation practice can help tame stress, but did you know this ancient discipline might actually improve your immune system as well? 

Researchers at Harvard and UC San Francisco recently found that meditators expressed different genes compared to non-meditators. According to preliminary findings, frequent meditators seemed to have a more robust response to infections and inflammation.   

While meditation may seem to some like “a waste of time” or doing nothing, it’s unquestionably one of the best ways teens can bolster their brain and immune health. If your student doesn’t already have a meditation routine, you’d be doing them a lifelong favor by suggesting that they add a short session (10-15 minutes) to their day. You might also suggest that they download a meditation app like Calm or Headspace, which makes it easy and entertaining to learn and practice daily.

DON’T DISCOUNT DREAMTIME!

Even before COVID-19, many Americans struggled to get a good night’s sleep. Currently, dentists report they’re seeing record numbers of patients with TMJ disorders and broken teeth — both of which are due to “stress grinding” at night.  

Now more than ever, it’s crucial for students to practice good sleep health. Not only is sleep important to effectively manage our stress levels, it also helps boost immunity. Doctors now know that good sleep helps our body produce cytokines, which are essential proteins in our immune system. 

If possible, encourage your student to sleep for at least seven hours every night. Be sure they use the “bedtime function” on their phone to remind them when to turn off their screens and get some shut-eye. It’s been shown that computer and mobile phone light actually inhibits falling asleep. 

FROM STATION TO STATION, REMEMBER SANITATION!

If your student is coming home for the holidays, they need to be extra careful when entering risky high-contact areas like airports, train stations and rideshare vehicles. While many places are working hard to make everything “contactless,” there’s no way to completely avoid germs when traveling in public spaces. 

Recent research suggests some of the most germ-infested items in a standard airport include touchscreens, railings and security trays. When people get on a plane, they need to watch out for highly-contaminated items like food trays, seat pockets, headrests, seat belts and lavatories. 

Be sure your student is aware of all these high-risk areas and that they remember to wash their hands frequently. If possible, send your student disinfectant wipes so they can sanitize any surfaces they come into contact with while traveling. 

Also, please double-check your state’s official policy on quarantining after air travel. For extra safety, you should encourage your student to get tested for COVID-19 before and after traveling! 

WHEREVER YOUR STUDENT IS THIS HOLIDAY – BE PREPARED WITH THE UMERGENCY APP!

Speaking of safety, please don’t forget to download the Umergency app on your mobile device whether you’re a college parent or student. With the click of a button in the app, students can alert local authorities and their emergency contacts whenever they feel threatened or pull up their insurance and medical consent cards in a medical emergency. The advanced technology in our app will also keep parents on top of any serious health or safety issues. 

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