Public health data shows that one billion cases of the common cold occur each year in the United States. Worldwide, colds are the most common illness affecting all age groups. As a teen, you will encounter unique difficulties when you catch a cold, especially if you already have an existing condition such as asthma or allergies. In this article, you will find more details about:
- Why the common cold may not be a mere nuisance to teens
- The causes of colds
- What teens can do to avoid colds or ease their effects
- How maintaining teen health in general can ward off colds and promote long-term benefits
How Colds Affect Teens
Colds can lead to decreased enthusiasm for socializing and engaging in physical activity. If you’re suffering from a cold, it’s likely that you won’t have your usual energy for interacting with friends and participating in sports or other types of activities. You will most likely just choose to stay home. Your physical discomfort may turn into lethargy, and this could lead to more serious problems, particularly in school and in your social life.
Colds can also lead to absenteeism and poor performance in school. Many issues can lead to teens missing a lot of time at school, but an often overlooked cause of absenteeism is recurring or prolonged battles with the cold, or the common cold turning into the flu or painful sinus infections. While having a cold may not appear serious, the consequences of this condition range from missed lessons and projects to being unable to complete more important school requirements and examinations.
Colds can also cause emotional stress. For the average teen, the combined effects of a weakened body, dampened enthusiasm, and academic pressure can lead to anxiety and depression. If you are experiencing these symptoms, it’s time to take action. Don’t be embarrassed or scared to ask for help from your parents or school counselor.
How Teens Can Fight Off Colds
You can boost your body’s resistance by taking recommended supplements; however, don’t take too much of a single vitamin to the exclusion of all other healthful substances. Instead, take the recommended amounts of each item in the full range of essential vitamins and minerals. Even a teen who enjoys the benefits of a young, developing body needs a strong immune system to ward off illnesses.
You can also prevent colds by staying fit and healthy. If you resolve to stay healthy throughout your teen years, you will reap the benefits of a strong, active body well into adulthood. You will also avoid catching the cold as often as your less health-minded peers. An easy way for a teen to stay healthy is to get exercise daily, something most teens already do through various sports.
In addition, it is important to eat right. Eat a well-balanced diet, drink plenty of fluids, and avoid too much fat, sugar, and salt. Combined with the other recommendations, eating a healthy diet will help you get rid of colds easier and sooner, or avoid them altogether.
It is also important to mind your hygiene. Most teens enjoy being physically and socially active. Unfortunately, if they don’t practice good hygiene, this can lead to infection from numerous viruses that cause colds. Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently to avoid getting or passing viruses around your circle of acquaintances through contact.
Well-informed teens can help prevent colds for themselves, their families and their friends through the methods outlined above. Avoiding or fighting off illness is not all that matters. It is also important to lessen the negative consequences of illness in a teen’s personal, social and academic life. If you are having a particularly difficult time dealing with colds, ask for help from a medical professional.