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The College Girl’s Guide to Dealing with Sickness

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at BU chapter.

It’s no secret that cold and flu season is upon us. An article in the USA Today stated that this year’s flu season is the worst it has been in nearly a decade and it just keeps coming. With the middle of winter, all kinds of sicknesses are striking in addition to the flu, like strep throat (ouch), the common cold, viruses, and viral infections.

I happen to have a sh*t immune system and a couple of weeks ago, I happened to catch a viral infection that had me knocked out for three days. I desperately wanted to go home, but since it began on a Sunday night, I couldn’t, since I needed to be in class at some point during the week. This means that over the past year and a half, I have developed a few tips and tricks on how to deal with being sick in college. Here are some remedies that help you feel better faster and I’m here to share them with you!

To prevent getting sick:

1. Wash your hands/use hand sanitizer.

There’s a few different ways to help preventing getting sick and one of the big ones is to wash your hands! It gets rid of germs quickly and easily and it’s never a bad idea to do it after touching a lot of surfaces like doorknobs or desks that can carry a lot of bacteria and germs. It’s also a good idea to use hand sanitizer, which serves the same purpose. I keep a bigger one on my desk to use before I do my makeup or skincare and I try and carry around a mini one in my backpack, like the ones from Bath and Body Works. They have some great scents and they’re super easy for on-the-go.

2. Get enough sleep.

I know it can be hard to get an adequate amount of sleep in college between homework, events, going out, and Netflix binging, but when sickness is upon us, it’s so important. Getting enough sleep can help your immune system stay strong and that’s exactly what you need to avoid catching something. You’ll also just feel better generally when you’re less tired.

3. Vitamins.

I take vitamins C and D every day (or I at least try to). They both help strengthen your immune system and, while it may seem like a small thing that won’t matter much in the short term, if you keep taking them, they help build up your immune system in the long-run, which is always good. Can’t be getting the flu and strep and have to take a week off when you’re out in the working world!


If you do get sick:

4. Stay hydrated.

It’s important to stay hydrated generally, but when you’re sick, it’s even more important. Drinking water helps clean toxins out of your body and when you’re fighting off being sick, there are even more toxins to clear out, which means your body needs more fluids.

Staying hydrated isn’t just limited to water either; soup, broth, or ice are also great ways of staying hydrated. Soup is also good if you have a sore throat or stuffy nose because its warm and can help soothe.

5. Make sure to get lots of sleep.

The first day of my infection I think I was awake for maybe 3 hours total the entire day. When I went to Student Health Services, they said if you’re finding it hard to get out of bed because you’re tired or weak, that’s your body’s way of saying you need more rest. Listen to your body and get the rest you need because sleep works wonders for helping you get back on your feet. Sleeping means expending much less energy on physical things so that energy can, in turn, be put towards fighting off whatever bacteria or virus is attacking your body.

If you need to take a day off, do it. The more you rest, the quicker you get better.

6. Utilize student health.

Student Health can be a bit of a disaster sometimes (they had me come in three times and went back and forth on diagnoses and medications), but at the end of the day, they figured out what was wrong with me and got me on the proper meds. If you want to go to an off-campus doctor go for it, but for many of us find that Student Health is quick and convenient.

You can either make an appointment through Patient Portal online, or you can call the office when it opens to schedule same day appointments. They also have an emergency on-call wait list for when there are no appointments left if you really need to be seen.

7. Take your medicine and finish it.

Whether its Tamiflu for the flu, antibiotics, or just NyQuil, make sure you finish your medication until you no longer need it or until your dosage is up. I got put on antibiotics that I had to take for 10 days, 3 times a day. Even though I was feeling pretty good after day 6, it was still imperative for me to finish out all 10 days so that the antibiotics can work their full effect and so my infection didn’t come back.

Always read the prescriptions label or medication label and follow it correctly so you can get better that much faster.

8. Email your professors to keep up with work.

Missing class is stressful especially as we head into the midterm season, but if you’re contagious, don’t go to class. Your professor and your classmates will appreciate you not risking spreading germs and your body will thank you for resting up.

That being said, take the initiative to email your professors to let them know you won’t be in class because you’re sick and ask if there is any work you’ve missed/will miss so you can keep up. Student Health at BU doesn’t write doctor’s notes for students, but they’re usually willing to give you their contact info to pass on to your professor so they can confirm you were in and get an excused absence.

At the end of the day, being sick sucks and it sucks even more when you’re away from the people who used to take care of you (Hi Mom!), but these tips and tricks will help you kick whatever you have’s butt and get you back on your feet in no time. I know some of these may seem very obvious and common sense, but those tend to be the things we forget so it’s important for a reminder every once in awhile.

Happy Saturday lovelies, I hope you have a great weekend and beat winter’s many sicknesses. Or, if you’re sick already, I hope you feel better and that these tips help you!


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Hi, I'm Arianna! I'm a senior at Boston University majoring in journalism. I love cats, food, hockey, and anything beauty related. I write about "How to College" and what has helped me in my transition process from tiny high school to huge university. I hope you enjoy!
Writers of the Boston University chapter of Her Campus.