Your end-of-the-semester guide to staying healthy and sick-free

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Caragh McErlean/File

With the air quality hovering around the unhealthy 200 benchmark and the common cold spreading at a rate faster than the quesadilla line at GBC, it’s crucial to keep your health a No. 1 priority. Although it can be hard to balance your social and academic lives, you can always make time for taking care of yourself. Here are some things you can do during these last couple of weeks before the fall semester ends to keep yourself in tip-top shape.

Drink tons of fluids

And by that, we mean water. Follow the “8-by-8” rule, which recommends that you drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day. If you can chug seven seconds worth of lukewarm vodka on frat row, you can surely handle gulping down the refreshing taste of water throughout the day.

Dress warmly

Although the classic image of California evokes shorts, sunnies and slathering on sunscreen, the Bay Area is starting to cool down, and it’s important to make the appropriate wardrobe adjustments for it. When you leave home for your first class in the morning, packing a jacket may be the last thing on your mind. However, you don’t want to get stuck in the situation of having to brace the chilly nighttime weather by the time your last class ends, so think twice before you walk out the door.

Don’t be afraid to call in sick (aka email your GSI to let them know you aren’t feeling well)

Your GSIs are students too and will surely understand if you aren’t on your A game for this week’s discussion section, but be sure to email them in advance to let them know — after all, they aren’t mind readers. There may even be one freebie given to you for a missed attendance if you carefully reread the syllabus.

Wear a mask

The air quality of Berkeley is no joke at the moment. Call up local pharmacies and hardware shops and even the Tang Center to see if they have any masks available for purchase. If you’re short on luck, that’s no excuse to back down from buying one. Order an N95 respirator mask from Amazon, which offers speedy deliveries and a pickup center conveniently located on campus. And, don’t forget that the best defense against the poor air quality is to limit your time spent outdoors as much as possible.

Eat a balanced diet

While it can be hard to resist the junk foods that surround us here at college, the age-old saying that “you are what you eat” holds some credibility. When you eat healthier, you’ll feel healthier, which is not to say that boba and popcorn chicken every now and then are eternally banned from consumption. Everything’s best in moderation!

Don’t overdo it on the over-the-counter cold medicine. While over-the-counter medicine can be helpful for fighting the most resilient of colds, be sure to follow the instructions accordingly and not overextend the duration that you should use them for. Although cough drop flavors have started tasting more and more like candies, be sure to catch yourself when you’ve found yourself on your third one during a single lecture.

There you have it, fellow Bears. Don’t forget that at the end of the day, maintaining your health and happiness is way more important than one midterm. So, if you catch yourself having a coughing fit, take a moment to acknowledge and treat yourself.

Contact Erika Lee at [email protected].