A Flu Season Guide for First Years (Or Anyone, Really)

Smog season has descended upon us, quite literally, and I imagine that those of us who aren’t veterans of the season are grappling with the pains of adjustment. I, for one, come from Bangalore where this kind of thing is unheard of: the mad rush to order masks varying from disposable to straight up military grade, the dodging of open air to get from your room to the mess, and that fun experiment of placing your hand a foot away from your eyes and marvelling at how it disappears in the pollution. All these things used to be thousands of kilometres away, mere horror stories from friends who had braved the north before. But now I’m here: a first year, shivering not from nerves, but the biting cold (which I’m told only gets colder). And I, as tragic as it sounds, have fallen sick.

Related: The Smog: 10 Tips To Stay Safe And Healthy

I was waiting for this day. I knew it would come and I could even sense when—October has knocked quite a few of us down. But what I really wasn't prepared for was actively taking care of myself when I finally did fall sick. There was almost no anticipation of my needs from other people, since, surprise surprise, no one else is as invested in your general health as your mother. So, based on my day-and-a-half of experience, I thought I’d write up a little list of things you can do to get through the flu in college and come out, sort of fine!

1. Sleep

I know it sounds obvious and it’s exactly what you did back home, but there’s nothing more important than rest. College is a busy place and no one is really forcing you to stay in bed—so be the one to force yourself. Cuddle up in blankets, watch some Netflix, and maybe ask a friend for company—but you better be horizontal throughout. The more sleep you manage to get, the faster you’ll be up and about.

2. Keep a flu-kit

At home you have the luxury of flitting between rooms, helping yourself to the fridge whenever you want, and having people get you things at a moment’s notice (anyone with a sibling knows what I’m talking about). But you know that on campus, the second you’re out of your room, you’re in a residence of 70 people and a mess of over a thousand and you can’t employ your friends to be at your beck and call. So, make sure you keep your medication, some water, tissue paper, tea, ramen (a staple) and anything else you need to be comfortable, close to you. As I write this, I have my own little bedside table with the aforementioned amenities, and trust me, it will help.

 

3. Your friends are your best friends

I know I said they can’t do everything, but college life is tough without your friends, and trust me, they want you to get better as much as you do. If you need company, or if you can’t get yourself out of bed, don’t be afraid to ask for help! After all, a time will come when they’ll be in your shoes, and need you.

4. Don’t forget to eat

It is really easy to lose your appetite and the energy to move yourself to the mess or dining hall, or anywhere really that isn’t your room, but it’s important to eat well. Keep some instant noodles handy (Again, I swear by them), but also remember to utilize any and all delivery services and make it to lunch timings. If you need , call your mum and listen to her fret for a little bit before you feel guilty enough to take care of yourself as well as she takes care of you.

 

5. It’ll all be okay

Ultimately, you are an adult and the flu is temporary, Netflix is always available. You’re going to come out of this just fine. Remember to complain all you want , focus on getting better, and not stress about what you’re missing. This is what growing up means, I guess, and it really isn’t all that bad.

 

*****

 

I hope this helped at least one of you because I’m about to take my own advice and make myself some noodles, fluff up my pillows and call a friend who doesn’t have a class right now to pay attention to me (I will reciprocate when the time comes, promise). Don’t worry, before you know it, you’ll be outdoors and complaining about all the work you have and the sleep you’re missing and life will get back to normal. Until then, take care!

Edited by Maya Haider (UG 2019)