When you’re living in dormitories, or have roommates, when one person gets sick, it usually means other people are soon to get sick. For example, I am now dealing with a sinus infection that was passed from my friend to me, and now my roommate is sick too. Thinking on this, I’ve come up with a number of things you can do to help prevent those sicknesses (because, trust me, taking a midterm with a pounding headache and a terrible cough is no picnic).
Obviously I don’t have scientific proof, but I’ve found that when I take vitamins every day, I feel much healthier, and get sick much less. Case and point, I stopped taking vitamins for about a week, and then got sick. Could just be a coincidence, but better safe than sorry, right?
2. Don’t share drinks
It’s easy to share drinks, especially at parties. Sometimes one may even simply want to try a new beer his or her roommate has. Whatever the case, it’s never a good idea. There’s no telling what kind of germs your friends/roommates have, and as I’ve said in previous posts, Mono seems to be rampant on campuses, so you definitely want to be extra careful.
3. Try to get sleep
Sometimes it seems as though college students are chronically sleep deprived. There’s no better way to weaken an immune system than a lack of good sleep. Many experts say 9 hours of sleep a night is what the human body needs to be healthy. In a college utopia, I’m sure everyone could get that. Unfortunately, in the real world, most students have to scrape by on 6 or 7 if they’re lucky. The best plan is to try to set “desired” bedtimes. You may not always meet them, but goal setting is always helpful. Try to get at least 7 hours in a given night if you can. It helps to be prepared and start long papers earlier instead of later to avoid pesky all-nighters.
4. Eat healthy
There’s only so much that vitamins can do. If you are taking vitamins but eating pizza and drinking beer for every meal, your body won’t be getting a healthy source of nutrients. Try to have some fruit in vegetables at least with one meal a day. Cafeteria food is often pretty terrible tasting, but you can at least take a trip to the salad bar, or the fruit basket if your school has one. Try to go to the “healthy” place to eat on campus at least once a week (you know, the place where everything is organic etc, every campus has one). Eating healthy may cost a little extra, but if you do it occasionally, your wallet won’t hate you too much.
Some of the healthiest people I’ve met who get sick the least also work out the most. They run, swim, bike, lift weights, and more. Getting into the gym a few times a week is a great way to bolster that immune system while making yourself look and feel better. Case and point, I stopped working out for two weeks, and got sick. Coincidence? I think not. Not to mention, exercise is a great way to release stress and make you feel good about yourself.
So even if you’re the healthiest person on the floor. Even if you take vitamins, eat healthy, and exercise, you will still most likely get sick sometime in college. Don’t panic though, the best way to get better is to attack the problem with medicine, get sleep, eat well, and avoid making the situation worse by doing something insane like partying.
1. Get sleep
If you’re sick enough, you’ll probably want to sleep anyway. So listen to your body and get some good rest. If you can’t sleep, you should take some fever medication that makes you sleep, as well as alleviates symptoms. If you’re not getting any sleep before you get sick, you should definitely get some after you become sick.
2. Drink tea
This is something I always do when I’m sick and it always seems to help. Some nice tea always clears me up a bit and especially helps with throat/sinus problems.
3. Family Remedies
Whatever your mom and dad used to give you to make you feel better probably works even in college. If your mom always gave you chicken noodle soup, then heat some up for yourself.
4. Don’t party
I tried to go to a party when I was feeling under the weather once. It was one of the worst decisions of my life. Even if it is the biggest party of the year, you should stay home and rest, because I’m almost positive you’ll regret it if you don’t.
5. Know when to skip class
If you can’t get out of bed, let alone think, I wouldn’t suggest going to class. A lot of college students feel great pressure to not miss class and fall behind. If you’re sick, you’re sick. Your professors will understand. If they need a doctor’s note, then go to the doctor and get checked up, then give them the note. If you can’t get a note for some reason, then consider how crucial the class will truly be. Missing one class because you’re sick won’t kill your GPA.
So there you have it, five ways to prevent, and five ways to help cure the common cold in college. The important thing to remember is to stay on top of your work, while understanding your body’s limitations. Getting sick in college isn’t the end of the world; it is just very inconvenient