Opinion | Stay healthy and wear proper attire this winter

You’re not cool or brave for not properly bundling up. You’re just putting yourself and others at risk.


Peyton Downing, Opinions Columnist

With the dropping temperatures and night getting dark earlier, we will yet again be accosted by the sight of college men wearing only shorts and a T-shirt. Not only is this a horrendous fashion choice, but it’s an unhealthy choice as well. While you may not be concerned about catching a cold, we are still dealing with the COVID-19 virus and its variants.

Not properly protecting the body from cold during the winter is a fast track to getting sick. A few years ago, a Harvard study discovered that there was truth to the old wives’ tale of not staying out in the cold for fear of catching a cold. Your body’s temperature dropping actually weakens your immune system and makes it harder to fight off viruses.

But that’s not the only way in which we college students may be unwittingly harming ourselves with laziness or apathy.

Air quality in our living spaces is also something we have control over but severely neglect.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, there are myriad ways that the air quality of our homes, buildings, and rooms can become polluted.

Pollen, dust, fungal spores, and more irritants are all things we can bring indoors with us on our clothes.

These irritants can cause many random issues in symptoms, some of which can be rather severe.

Inferior air quality caused by these things can lead to headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, sinus congestion, cough, sneezing eye, nose, and throat irritation, skin irritation, dizziness, and nausea.

Obviously none of these are good things, but they’re even worse considering the state of the world right now.

Several of these symptoms match those of COVID-19 and while they may lead you to incorrectly assume you have it, the inverse is worse. If you’ve grown accustomed to these symptoms due to your home’s air quality, you may not know that you have COVID-19.

Thankfully, there are ways to fix this. Scrubbing out the AC unit in your room, dusting your belongings every so often, and purchasing an air filter from somewhere are all fine ideas. It’s just a matter of making sure your living space is habitable and getting rid of anything that may irritate your lungs.

And one other small rule of thumb that I’m sure you’ve ignored from your mothers, but should follow anyway, is to change your bed sheets weekly.

Aside from just being nice for yourself, sheets also carry a whole host of things, From fungus and bacteria to pollen and skin cells. Also, not washing weekly can worsen asthma, allergies, and trigger eczema and dermatitis.

These are all obviously common-sense tips you may have heard before, and while you may have rolled your eyes when your mother told you all these things when you first got dropped off at the dorms like I did, it’s important to remember that they say it for a reason.

As we’re rolling into winter back at Iowa with in-person classes, please, look after yourself. If not for your benefit, then for the benefit of everyone around you. And your mother.


Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.