Whether it is your first or last semester of college, the risk of getting sick is always something no one wants to take. Being sick can set you back on assignments, absences, lecture notes and more.
Luckily, I’m here to give you tips on not only how to prevent the dreaded sickness of this cold season, but how I help ease the pain anytime I come down with something.
First, let’s start with how to prevent all the grossness that lives out there.
1. Wash your hands.
I know, I know. You’ve heard it since you could reach the sink to do so but wash your hands! Seriously, I am a firm believer in always keeping your hands clean. It might be due to my previous position as a CNA, but I constantly wash my hands. During the busy semester, I always keep a pocket hand sanitizer in my backpack, along with the one I always have in my car and handbag. Bath and Body Works makes the perfect travel-sized ones. Plus, they have adorable holders. I’ll link them right here.
2. Get plenty of rest.
It’s hard squeezing in a full night’s rest with all of the deadlines you have to meet as a college student, on top of the job or jobs you hold on the side. You should try making your best effort to get six to nine hours of sleep. When your body lacks sleep, it makes fewer cytokines, which is a type of protein that focuses on targeting infection and inflammation in your body. This protein creates immune responses. Without the body’s ability to create immune responses, your chances of fighting off any virus are slim.
3. Keep your body hydrated.
No, iced coffee is not a sufficient source of hydration for your body. I feel pretty hypocritical as I’m typing this because I am 100% guilty as can be for assuming my body is fine to run off of coffee beans and nothing else. Water is a wonderful way to help your body naturally wash the virus out of your body. Not only this but keeping your body hydrated means the membranes of your nose and throat remain soft. When your membranes lack this hydration, they begin to form tiny cracks which create the perfect route for viruses to enter your body.
The normal amount of water recommended per day is eight cups. If you’re anything like me and water isn’t your choice of drink due to its lack of flavor, try water mixes! They’re compact and help me get my recommended amount of water every day – and sometimes more. If that still isn’t working for you, decaf tea options are endless and also provide hydration for your body!
Fun bonus: your skin will also thank you for your added water intake.
I am a firm believer in Walmart’s Spring Valley 500MG chew tablets of Vitamin C. I pop one of those babies every morning before I eat my breakfast, and sometimes two during the flu season if I feel one coming on. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant. It contributes to the immune defense so much! A few more vitamins I suggest are B6 and Vitamin E. They both contribute greatly to your immune defense and can easily be found in your local pharmacy.
5. Stock up on immune-boosting foods.
Throw in the blueberries and oranges. Blueberries are filled with many antioxidants that help treat and prevent colds, along with oranges which are full of Vitamin C! I also suggest filling your fridge with green veggies. Spinach is a major one! Not only is spinach a superfood that can be cooked with almost any meal, it also contains Vitamin C.
Okay, so say you’ve done everything you could to prevent any kind illness, but Karen decided to come to class with a cold and for some unknown reason – feels its okay sneeze in your territory. If you’re Karen in this situation, stay home. A thank you from all college students on campus. The next day you wake up with whatever Karen decided to ever so lovingly share with you. Don’t fret, here are some tips to help you overcome this situation.
1. Rest up.
Not only will catching up on your Z’s help you defend a cold, it’ll also help your body repair from being infected by a virus. Your body needs to heal. Grab a blanket and flip on a movie — I suggest Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Imagine your white blood cells as Natasha Romanoff and Steve Rogers. They can kick some serious virus you-know-what.
2. Drink up.
So, it didn’t help you defend the cold so well. Though keeping hydrated is one of the most important things to make sure you do during your battle. I highly recommend Pedialyte. They even make popsicles out of this now. I also suggest many hot teas to help soothe your throat.
3. Sore throat? Try these out.
Even after a few hours of a rough cough, your throat can feel like you’re swallowing razor blades. My go-to is a hot cup of Licorice Root Tea. Though if you’re one of the many who hate the taste of licorice, Ginger Tea is another great option. Drop a spoonful of honey into your cup for added throat coat and you’re set!
Another thing that helps me battle a sore throat would be any form of cough drop. Halls is a major brand with many options in the flavor category. I also eat their Vitamin C drops like candy, which can help you while you’re sick.
The last thing I can suggest to helping your sore throat is a good old fashion salt water gargle. A half of a teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm water, gargle for fifteen seconds and you’re set. It works wonders.
4. Shower bombs.
These things are God sent. Shower bombs are like bath bombs, just made for the shower. Close the door to your bathroom and get the shower extremely steamy. Drop one of these bad boys at the bottom of the shower and breathe deeply. They really help open your sinuses.
5. Essential oils.
I personally believe essential oils work wonders, especially in helping your sinuses open up. Eucalyptus, lemongrass, and peppermint are the ones I always go to. They also help me relax into a nice deep sleep.
Now that I’ve said this, by all means, please do NOT avoid going to your healthcare provider. If your sickness has lasted more than a normal few days of a cold, please go get checked out! These are only small home remedies that help me battle the common cold and help ease the pain when I have one.
Here’s to keeping germ free in 2k19.