Stay Healthy in Medical School

April 14, 2014

Article by Global Pre-Meds
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Stay Healthy In Medical School

Gap Medics student on hospital work experience in Iringa, Tanzania, with Gap Medics. It may sound ironic but yes, medical students do get ill. Staying away from home for the first time, late nights, early mornings, a not so healthy diet and a packed schedule are just some of the reasons why most first year students suffer from some form of health complaint or minor illness. Knowing how to cope when you’re unwell is half the battle towards getting better. The other half is taking a few basic steps to stay as healthy as possible.

Tips on healthy eating while at medical school

More often than not, simply eating better food can help you fix that run-down feeling and keep minor illnesses at bay.  While it’s okay to indulge in that occasional takeaway or burger and fries, making them a staple part of your diet will not do your health much good. To keep yourself healthy and energised, here’s a closer look at some of the foods you should include in your diet instead:

Calcium: Eating calcium rich foods such as milk, cheese, broccoli, yoghurt, canned sardines and tofu will help you get the recommended daily amount of about 700 gms. Calcium keeps your bones and teeth healthy and acts as insurance against osteoporosis when you are older.

Vitamin D: It can be hard to get your daily dose of Vitamin D when you spend all day indoors studying or in class. Eating foods such as eggs, fortified breakfast cereals, sardines and salmon will keep your Vitamin D levels topped up.

Vitamin C: Vitamin C is famed for its immunity-boosting properties but the body does not retain excess amounts so make sure you have at least a few portions of citrus fruits every single day.

Brain booster foods: Oily fish such as tuna, salmon and mackerel, as well as foods such as red meat, brown bread, fruits and nuts all contain Omega-3, which gives your brain the boost it needs.

Register with your local GP and dentist

You never know when you may get ill or when dental problems might strike but when they do, you don’t want to find that you are unable to receive treatment because you haven’t registered with the local GP or dentist. Registering with a local GP and dentist should be first on your agenda once you know which medical school you will be attending.

Common Student Health Problems

Fortunately, most student health problems are minor and can be taken care of with some basic advice and home remedies.  

Cough/Cold/Sore Throat: This is probably the most common complaint students have during university. If you have a cough, cold or sore throat, the best thing you can do is get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluid and take a paracetamol to get rid of that achy feeling. You should see your GP if the symptoms last longer than a few days or get worse.

Diarrhoea or Vomiting: This is another common student complaint brought on by throwing caution to the wind and experimenting when getting takeaways. In addition to the discomfort, these symptoms can be terribly embarrassing in shared housing. Both of these problems usually clear up in about 48 hours. In the meantime, drink plenty of fluids and avoid all solid foods. An over-the counter anti-diarrhoea medicine can help. A visit to your doctor is a must if the symptoms last longer than 48 hours or if they are accompanied by a headache or any other symptoms.