It’s the Most Germ-i-ful Time of The Year!

So if you’re like me, you probably know this already. Once the air starts to get cool and crisp, your body suddenly decides, “Hey, you know what I haven’t had in a while? A nasty cold!” and some sort of nasty, boogery illness creeps into your every particle. Grrrrrreat, right? I started off the school year battling one cold for a few weeks, only to recently be bombarded with another one. I tell ya, my immune system is probably ticked at me for not doing a better job at cold prevention. 

So, what can you do to avoid being sick during school this fall, or at least, get sick less often? Here are some of the top ways to kick the cold to the curb:

Get Your Annual Flu Shot

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You may have missed UMD’s free flu shots last week, but a ton of places in Duluth offer free or low-cost flu shots depending on your health insurance. Why should you get a flu shot though?! According to the CDC, “Influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently, but millions of people get the flu every year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized and thousands or tens of thousands of people die from flu-related causes every year. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others.”

Some places you can check out for your annual flu shot include any Walgreens, St. Luke Clinics, Essentia Health, CVS Minute Clinics, and many more. Also, St. Louis County public health nurses will be giving out free flu shots to people who are either uninsured or under insured, and are at least 6 months old. Dates and locations include:

  • Nov. 9, 9:30-11:30 a.m. at CHUM, 120 W. Second St.
  • Nov. 15, 9:30-11:30 a.m. at the New San Marco Apartments, 230 W. Third St.
  • Nov. 16, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at the Damiano Center, 206 W. Fourth St.

Wash Your Hands & Use Hand Sanitizer Often

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This seems like a no-brainer, but we actually don’t wash our hands enough. Think about all the surfaces and people you come in contact throughout the day; it’s a LOT! And with all that contact with other things, you are touching all the germs they carry. Then, you likely will end up touching your face in some way or another, which is how you usually become sick. Not all germs are “bad” and you are likely resistant to the majority of them, but with cold season, you should especially give your hands a good washing here and there for at least 20 seconds in warm, soapy water. Carry around a small tube of hand sanitizer (which you can find at the school store) in your bag to use during or between classes. 

Wipe Down Your Phone

On the same note of avoiding germs, your phone tends to carry a ton! You are constantly touching it with your hands (that have been practically everywhere) and then putting it close or up to your face. Grab a sani-wipe of some sort and give a good cleaning once a week. Careful not to get it wet however!

Drink Plenty of Water Throughout the Day

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Instead of constantly sucking down pop, juice, or some fru-fru coffee drink, try to drink more WATER! We are almost chronically dehydrated in this day and age, and that is not a good thing for your immune system. Drinking more water everyone knows is important in feeling better, but we don’t think about it enough as a preventative measure for the common cold. Try to drink at least one big glass of water with each meal, and 2-3 big glasses or bottles between them.

Stay Away From Your Sick Friends

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This also seems like a “duh” moment, but I am guilty of this myself. You can still be empathetic and comforting to your sick family members and friends, BUT, know that it’s okay to keep your distance. You don’t need to isolate them like a germ prisoner, but just be aware the further you are, the better!

Incorporate Leafy Greens & Fresh Fruits Into Your Diet

When you eat well, you feel well! Avoiding crappy junk food with too much salt or sugar and eating more fresh produce is a fantastic preventative measure against colds. These foods are full of nutrients, antioxidants and minerals that are extremely beneficial to your immune system. On the flip side, junk food is not good for it. Try to eat at least one serving of each a vegetable and fruit with each meal. They also make for yummy, filling snacks!

Wash Your Sheets Regularly

Also something we put by the wayside besides our health; our BED SHEETS! Especially if you are sick or have been sick, wash your sheets! Sheets soak up all of the “stuff” your body sloughs off during sleep, such as dandruff, old skin, makeup, sweat, etc (won’t continue into gross detail). Nothing makes you feel a little bit healthier than a fresh, clean pair of covers when you go to bed at night. 

When To See A Doctor

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In case you do get a nasty bug of some sort, know when you should go to the doctor by identifying one or multiple of the following symptoms:

  • a temperature higher than 100.4° F
  • symptoms that last more than 10 days
  • symptoms that are severe or unusual

Do your best to avoid those icky micro-bugs and STAY HEALTHY FOLKS!
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Written by Hannah Garrett on 10/17/2017

 

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Meet the Rockstars: Maggie Carey

1. Name: Maggie Carey
2. Hometown: Maple Lake, MN
3. Major(s) and Minor(s): Major in Communication, Minor in Photography
4. Year in school: Senior
5. If magic was real, what spell would you use first? It’s not necessarily a spell, but I would hands down use the undetectable extension charm Hermione uses to have an unlimited amount of storage in her bag! I believe that is any girl’s dream to carry so many things with such ease!
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6. Hands-down favorite place to eat in Duluth: Uncle Louis’s Café! Best breakfast in town, I am never disappointed there!
7. One thing you absolutely need to do before you die: Go back to Switzerland to visit my dearest Swiss friend!
8. What you wish you would’ve known when you began your first year at UMD: Cherish the moments and drink lots of coffee! Freshman year is the best year of college, everything is new and so are you! During my first year, I wish I would have joined more clubs. Get out there and be involved, you have nothing to lose 🙂
Written by Hannah Garrett on 8/2/2017

10 Totally Awesome Things to Do in Duluth this Summer

Happy Sunday everyone!

Yesterday I took an amazing trip up the North Shore with a good friend of mine and visited some really cool places. Experiencing the Duluth area during the summer is quite the treat in comparison to the frigid months I have spent here during the school year. There are so many places to see and a wide variety of things to do to keep you entertained all summer long. Can you believe it’s already July too?! That means there’s only about two months left to soak in all the sweet sunshine before fall decorations start popping up at Target. So what all can you do to take advantage of Duluth’s summer? Here’s an extensive list I’ve compiled from personal experience and some local friends:

1. Hartley Nature Center

Located just outside of campus down Woodland avenue, this park is a gorgeous area to take a walk, ride your bike, snap some pictures and learn more about the environment. Hartley’s website says,

“Hartley Nature Center is an independent, non-profit, environmental education organization located in the beautiful 660-acre Hartley Park in Duluth, Minnesota.  We operate solely on program fees, memberships, sponsorships, grants and private donations from people like you.”

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My friend Kadoh says she loves spending her time in Hartley Park

You can find out more about Hartley park through some of there social media accounts, as listed below:

2. Rollerblading on Canal Park’s Boardwalk

My friend Orianna says this is one of her favorite summer pastimes! If I actually had skills in coordination and balance, I’d definitely join her. If rollerblading isn’t your forte (like me) you can bring out the bike, a long board, or even rent one of these human-powered surrey with your friends! Wheels of Fun is the place to go if you want to check one of these hilarious contraptions.

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3. Venturing around the Shoreline

With the largest Great Lake in North America being perched right there, it’s no shock that this is on the list. Lake Superior has over 1,700 miles of shoreline wrapping all the way around it, with the majority touching Minnesota. That gives you a ton of places to explore that touch its waters. You can grab a suit, a towel, and a good book and find yourself any spot along the north shore to enjoy some sunshine.

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My friend Haley at one of the shorelines near Gooseberry Falls

 

4. Spirit Mountain Summer Adventure Park

Spirit Mountain isn’t just for skiing and snowboarding. In the summer, there’s an awesome adventure park that includes zip-lining, scenic chair lifts, a giant jumping pillow, mini golf, disc golf, and best of all a 3200 foot elevated track alpine coaster called the Timber Twister. For more information about Spirit Mountain’s summer fun, check out their website here.

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5. Congdon Park

Another great park option in the area is Congdon park. Tischer Creek flows through the park’s billion-year-old red volcanic rock foundation and winds through an abundance of cedar and pine trees. A hanging waterfall is also located within this park, perfect for finding some soothing peace and quiet away from the bustling city and neighborhoods.

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My friend Dagan enjoying Congdon’s all-season beauty

6. Jay Cooke State Park

Located only about 30 minutes south of Duluth, this state park is by far one of the best I have visited. It has one of the most spectacular views in Minnesota, with a swinging suspension bridge where you can watch the raging St. Louis river going by underneath you. It has many trails to take as well as options for camping if you’re looking for a new spot to pitch your tent. Before you get to Duluth, take a pit stop here to soak in some summer beauty!

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Blogtographer Kate and I on a “Yike” (yoga hike) last fall at Jay Cooke

 

7. Park Point Beach

If you didn’t know this already, Duluth has a sandy beach right down in the Canal Park area where you can go and hang out for the day. There’s even a lifeguard supervised area and beach house you can rent for events through the Duluth YMCA! With 7 miles or so of sand, there’s bound to be a spot for you to layout by the lake.

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8. Hammock & Jam Out in Chester Park

I recently did this when it was nice and sunny outside, and boy was it relaxing. Rent or bring your own hammock and set it up between two of the many trees Chester Park has right by its quiet creek. Also, Chester Park puts on summer concerts every Tuesday night FREE for the public. Nothing beats some local music surrounded by nature.

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9. Stand-Up Paddleboard on the Lake

Try something new and challenging by renting out a Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP) and taking it for a spin on Lake Superior. North Shore SUP offers rentals, classes, guided trips and more when it comes to trying out SUPs on the lake. You can check them out here for more information.

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10. Gooseberry Falls

Another state park you can take a peek at this summer is Gooseberry Falls. It offers a gorgeously spectacular view at no cost to the public. Stop here after you’ve at lunch at Betty’s Pies to walk around and listen to the rushing waterfalls.

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My friend Mara and I at Gooseberry Falls yesterday during our North Shore adventure

Hope you pick somewhere new to explore this summer while you’re in Duluth!

 

 

Written by Hannah Garrett on 6/25/2017

Last Minute Study Tips for Finals

Although it’s a little late to try to teach yourself an entire semester’s worth of material, you’re not totally doomed. And I truly mean that! Here are some extremely helpful ways to make the rest of your weekend studying before finals productive and effective:

DELETE ALL SOCIAL MEDIA APPS ON YOUR PHONE RIGHT NOW

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Stop whining, it’s easy. Click, hold, delete. Your social media will still be there when you’re done studying, so don’t think it’s gone forever. Getting rid of the temptation altogether is what will really help you stay focused on your work instead of who is posting what. Distractions are your worst enemy when you’re short on time.

READ END-OF-CHAPTER SUMMARIES & TAKE NOTES ON THEM

We all know we are not speed-readers, otherwise we would’ve read all of the 20 chapters needed for a class earlier in the semester. Instead, review the end-of-chapter summaries, review questions, and explanations to get the gist of everything “important” or “need-to-know”. You don’t want to waste your valuable time reading every nook and cranny of the first page. Jot a few notes down and get through it.

SEARCH YOUTUBE & KHAN ACADEMY VIDEOS FOR QUICK EXPLANATIONS

If something is just not making sense from the text, your notes, or diagrams, try searching for a video about it. YouTube and Khan Academy have some awesome videos explaining just about everything from Chemistry to Anatomy to Music History. Another great channel to look up for quick and understandable lessons on anything is “Crash Course” on YouTube by the famous Green brothers. I promise you, these are worth the time.

DRINK WATER & TAKE FREQUENT WALKING BREAKS

Although shutting yourself into the library for the weekend may seem like a great idea, remember to stay hydrated and mobile. If you stare at a computer screen, textbook or notes for too long, your brain will slowly get more fatigued. Give yourself a break at the top of every hour to stretch, walk around, use the bathroom and chug some water. Water is especially important to continuously drink when you’re hopped up on caffeine from coffee, tea or an energy drink. Those might be awesome ways to keep you awake late into the evening, but they dehydrate you a lot.

SKIM OVER ALL NOTES YOU HAVE TAKEN DURING THE SEMESTER

Again, Rome wasn’t built in a day. You don’t need to thoroughly read absolutely every word, but instead brush over old ideas. Re-reading your old handwriting even once is helpful for jogging your memory of things you had to learn back in September that haven’t been talked about since. Even a light refresher is better than none.

GET LOTS & LOTS OF SLEEP – OR ELSE!

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You NEED to let your body and brain rest. Your test performance will be horrendous if you think pulling an all-nighter will help you learn and remember everything you need to know. YOU WILL DO BADLY IF YOU DO THIS. It has been shown time and time again that a lack of sleep leads to poor cognitive functioning in practically everything. You will not be able to critically think or creatively brainstorm when taking your test if you are sleep-deprived. Get 8 hours of sleep every night and set yourself up for success rather than failure.

Remember – if you are sitting there worrying over and over about your final tests, stop. You are only wasting your time that you can be spending focused and productively doing something to help you succeed. You are NOT a failure! You can do this!

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Written by Hannah Garrett on 12/10/2016