Conquering a Cold: A Collegiette's Guide to Surviving Sickness at School


Getting sick in college just might be the worst thing that can happen to a collegiette. You have zero time in your busy schedule to get the rest you need, you might not have easy access to medicine or even know what to take, and, worst of all, mom and dad aren’t there to painstakingly nurse you back to health. However, if you do find yourself coughing up a storm in class and loading your pockets with tissues for that pesky runny nose, have no fear—you’ll make it out alive! Here are some handy tips for handling a cold or flu.

Stay Hydrated

Drink lots of water, tea, juice or other clear liquids. Caffeinated and alcoholic drinks are a no-no, though, as is milk. According to WebMD, getting enough fluids will help keep your mucus thinner and less sticky, easing some of that nasty congestion. Hot tea is also a good option, especially if you add lemon, which is a natural antioxidant that can strengthen your immune system.

Get Lots of Rest

Sure, the quarter may be in full swing and midterm season upon us, but take every opportunity you have to catch some z’s. Lack of sleep leads to a weaker immune system, so set aside plenty of time to sleep (after you’ve finished your homework, of course!) and you’ll make a much quicker recovery.


While antibiotics won’t help with a cold, and it’s often best to let it run its course, if your symptoms are absolutely unbearable, there are a few things you can take. For a fever or body aches, Tylenol, Advil or Motrin can help. There are also many multi-symptom medicines, like DayQuil or Tylenol Cold, that claim to treat headaches, fever, sore throat, nasal congestion, cough and runny nose. Don’t just make a blind grab at CVS, though; ask your parents, doctor or a pharmacist about what’s best for you. And if your symptoms last for longer than a week, you should see a doctor.

Of course, the best cure for anything is always prevention. If you have yet to get sick in college and are trying to keep up your spotless, germ-free record (or if you’ve been there, done that, never going back), stay healthy by keeping a regular sleep schedule, drinking lots of water and washing your hands regularly. You can also add more vitamins, especially vitamin C, to your diet to bolster your immune system and significantly lower your chances of catching a virus. Your body will thank you!