Adulting 101: What to do When You are Sick in College

The plague 2.0 has been circulating around my dorm building recently and claimed yet another victim just a few short days ago: me. As I lay in my bed, sleep deprived and weak, I couldn't help but wish my mom was there. There is something very comforting in having a parent or simply another individual there to ensure your health when you feel like absolute garbage. It was a bitter realization that not only did I have to nurse myself back to health but I also had to buy my own cold medicine. How inconceivable. In all seriousness, I think it is important that you know what to do when you are sick, especially if you are living alone for the first time. Here are some tips that might make your next cold a little more bearable.

1. Tell someone that you are sick

I did not need to worry about doing this because I live on a floor full of nurturing people who were making sure I was okay when my cold made me go MIA for a day or two. However, if you live alone it is important that someone knows you are not in the best of health. It does not hurt to be extra careful even though it could just be a minor head cold.

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2. Use your cold/flu medication consistently

If you are relying on medication to make you feel better, then the only way it can work optimally is if you use it as recommended. I am guilty of taking a decongestant the moment I feel sick and then forgetting to use it for the duration of my cold. The less consistent you are with taking it, the longer it will take you to feel better.

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3. Email your professors if you are going to miss class

I am guilty of being super stressed out if I have to miss a class when I am sick. If you also worry about a professor holding an absence against you, email them ahead of time informing them you are not feeling well. I have noticed that when you keep professors in the loop, they not only appreciate it but are far more likely to practice leniency. This is super important, especially if attendance counts towards your final grade in the class.

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4. Know when it is time to rest

Sometimes when you’re sick you just have to know when it’s time to throw in the towel. If you feel physically weak and cannot concentrate on what you are doing, you would help yourself more by sleeping it off then trying to muddle through.

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5. If your symptoms linger, seek medical attention

If you have a really bad cough or fatigue that lingers a little longer than you feel comfortable with, you should seek medical attention. The doctor could either tell you that you just have to ride it out or help you to figure out the root of the problem. You are the person who knows your body best, so please do not ignore a gut feeling telling you something is wrong. Check out the Student Health Services in SUB1 or grab an Uber and head to the nearest medical center.

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I hope that these tips help you out in getting through your next or current nasty cold. Remember to listen to your body and know your limits. As someone who has survived the midterm plague, my thoughts are with you, collegiette!