With below-freezing weather and the stress of a new semester, UMKC students should know how to stay healthy and what resources are available on campus to help them get well.
The first step in staying healthy is making sure you have on the proper clothing. Students should be dressing in layers and covering up as much skin as possible, wearing hats and gloves.
“Staying hydrated is just as important in the winter as it is in the summer months,” said Obie Austin, the Student Health and Wellness administrator. “Reducing stress as often as possible will allow the body to be at its best from an immune system standpoint.”
Getting the proper amount of rest is important, so students should try to get at least eight hours of sleep, along with daily exercise.
Vitamin C is a great way to boost your immune system to fight off a virus that may make its debut this season.
“Students should work to keep their endorphins, ‘Happy Hormones,’ up through good social life and lots of laughter,” said Austin.
Getting involved on campus and participating in clubs and activities is an easy way to get those daily endorphins.
“I would caution students to avoid using moisture-wicking material as their base layer of clothing and consider mittens over gloves,” said Austin.
Besides the weather outside, daily stress, lack of sleep and poor nutrition create the perfect storm for students to become sick.
“This is a terrible combination and is often the enemy of good health,” said Austin. “Students should listen to their bodies, and we are fortunate enough to have a student health center that can see students quickly.”
Highly-stressed students are often at a greater risk of getting illnesses, and that is where stress relief comes in.
“Stress alters mood, leads to increased physical ailments, lowers the immune system and it’s just overall bad for us,” said Austin. “UMKC’s Counseling Center has a great deal of programming designed to help students recognize, prevent and treat stress.”
If you begin to feel ill, the Student Health and Wellness staff encourages that you call them for advice first. Then try to reduce your stress, get plenty of rest, drink lots of water and maintain a healthy diet with Vitamin C.
If the Student Health and Wellness staff isn’t available, students can talk to any local nurse line or the local retail pharmacist.
“Pharmacists are very well-educated and can assist in basic illness prevention and over-the-counter treatment advice,” said Austin.
The university offers resources like counseling, health services, testing and a disability department.
Students who are dealing with stress can get eight free visits per year at the Counseling Center and many different forms of support groups.
If you find yourself coming down with an illness, Student Health and Wellness is there for you.
Their office is located at 5110 Oak St., on the second floor of the Brookside 51 building, Suite 237.
You can make an appointment online, by phone or simply walking in.
Don’t stress or stay sick alone. Use your resources on campus to get well and get the help you need.