MISHAWAKA, IN—With the changes in weather come flu season: decreasing sunlight, a decreased motivation to exercise, and et cetera. All of these can combine to make quite the miserable fall season. How can someone who wants to drink all those pumpkin spice lattes and enjoy all the bonfires without the fever and lethargy, combat these symptoms of approaching winter?
First, to stave off the flu, the number one action recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and by doctors across the country is the flu vaccine. For more information about the flu vaccine and where it can be found, see a previous article entitled “Flu Season.” In addition to getting the flu shot, the next best prevention method is to consistently wash your hands and cover when sneezing or coughing.
Many know decreasing sunlight to be the cause of low vitamin D levels and can even bring on seasonal depression. Since not everyone can fly to Florida on the weekends to soak up all the sun possible, what is the best thing to do? Bethel’s Health Center has part of the answer by providing happy lights, lamps that emit light onto you face to mimic the sun. Contact the Health Center for more information about availability.
Another option to combat vitamin D deficiency directly is to take supplemental vitamin D each day during the fall and winter months. In fact, an article1 published in the Journal of Nutrition Health and Aging shows that supplementing with vitamin D is more effective than phototherapy (light therapy) in combatting seasonal depression and lethargy.
As the semester continues into the cloudy and cold fall and winter months, please remember to get the flu shot and take some vitamin D. It will not make the headaches from midterm grades go away, but it might just make November in Indiana a bit more enjoyable.