OPINION: Five easy steps to prep for flu season

Ideally, your fall semester won't look like this. (Archive photo by Cassandra Nguyen | Collegian Media Group)

I hope you like pumpkins, because autumn is finally here. After a summer that seemed to last way too long, it’s time for falling leaves and spooky skeletons to take a stranglehold on our lives.

Unfortunately, there’s another kind of ghoulish fiend ready to sneak up behind us all and pounce before the season’s over: influenza, better known as the flu.

If you’re like most people and you don’t enjoy boiling alive in a mucus-filled nightmare, here are some tips to keep the flu as far away from you as possible.

1. Get a flu shot

Teaching your white blood cells what the enemy looks like is the surest path to victory. With a weak and dejected flu strain for reference, your body will know exactly how to keep you safe.

Flu shots are provided for cheap (and sometimes for free) in most clinics and health centers. Even grocery stores are getting in on the action, so there’s really no good reason to avoid getting a flu shot this year. It’s by far one of the best ways to protect yourself.

2. Establish a hand-washing routine

They say cleanliness is next to godliness, and nothing prevents the spread of disease quite like squeaky clean palms.

While flu season is in full effect, it’s a good idea to start washing your hands more frequently than you usually would. Before and after classes might seem excessive, but it can do a lot to keep icky nonsense and your classmates’ cooties away from you.

3. Learn what heals you

Natural remedies can be made at home to combat the flu. (Gabriela Faraone | Collegian Media Group)

Whether you’re trying to stay healthy or you’re already sick, keeping your heart and soul happy seems to do wonders for your body as well.

All-natural goodies like tea and honey are not only delicious, they can also help clear your head of mucus, bad vibes and other nasty stuff. I know it’s a cliche, but treating your body like a temple is a great way to get through flu season.

4. Buy lots of comfort food

If you’re like me and your schedule is far too busy to make room for all-natural health remedies, junk food can be just as good. Why pop pills when you can popcorn?

I usually try (and fail) to eat a lean diet before flu season starts, but if the flu rears its ugly head, that’s where the fun begins. I recommend keeping a supply of emergency illness food that’s warm and soft; it keeps your insides happy and your throat functional and toasty.

Chicken nuggets, chicken tenders, chicken wings, mashed potatoes and pizza rolls are all my favorites. Oh, and you didn’t hear this from me, but ice cream is practically a medicine all by itself. Eat up!

5. Vitamin C is the way to be

My mother is an advice machine (and a million other helpful things), and she always tells me that vitamin C boosts your immune system. I’m sure vitamin C is good for other things, but you should trust my mother’s intuition as much as I do.

Fruits, certain kinds of vegetables and juice are all great sources of vitamin C to keep your body on watch for any sickly bugs that try to invade your privacy this fall. I personally recommend drinking some 100-percent fruit juice every day just in case you don’t have time for a nutritious meal.

Oh, and the great thing about college? You can drink juice straight from the jug and no one can stop you.

Kyle Hampel is a community editor for the Collegian and a senior in English. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

Those words you just read were written by me, Kyle Hampel. I am a 2019 graduate in English. I have strong feelings about barbeque pizza and the Oxford comma. I am a former copy chief, community editor, feature editor, designer and deputy multimedia editor. Beloit, Kansas, is proud to call me their own, along with several other towns I've lived in that aren't as special to me.