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The Ultimate Guide to Being Sick in College

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at ODU chapter.

The Ultimate Guide to being sick in college

It has unfortunately come to that time of year: cold and flu season. For many, college can bring several new and uncomfortable experiences, as it is the first time living far from home. It can be scary to be sick when you do not have the comfort of your family or home. With the many viruses spreading across college campuses right now, here are some must-have tips to prevent catching these illnesses. If you happen to get sick, you will want a guide to everything you need when you’re not feeling so hot. Luckily, this is the ultimate guide to before, during and after an infection has hit you. 

Prevention is Key! 

Since it is that time of year, you want to try to avoid getting sick before it actually happens. When you think about a day in your life on campus, what might that look like? After coming in contact with commonly touched areas such as door handles, elevator buttons and stair rails, make sure you use hand sanitizer! After your long day of classes, make sure to wash your hands with soap and water. 

If you live in a dorm, there are also some high-contact areas that you have control over cleaning. It takes only a few minutes to wipe down commonly touched surfaces in your dorm room with some form of disinfectant. 

For when you are actually sick: 

When you catch a cold, there is no worse feeling than being alone and unprepared. Many college students live in dorms, thus making this their first time living alone. Being sick for the first time alone can be so difficult. However, if you stock up on some necessities and make a “sick day basket,” your sick self will appreciate you later on. Here’s the essentials.

  1. Box of Tissues: 

Whether you’re experiencing allergies or the flu, tissue boxes will be your best friend. 

  1. Throat Drops: 

For when you have a sore throat, you will be thankful you picked up a bag of these to sooth your throat and reduce inflammation. 

  1. Soup:

This is so good to have on hand to make for yourself, especially as a college student. A can of soup will be easy for you to heat up, plus the benefits of being a safe sick food. 

  1. Crackers: 

Plain crackers are essential for an upset stomach and feelings of nausea.

  1. Thermometer:

These are good so you can know if you have a fever or not. While you should not go to class when you are sick, you definitely should not go when you have a fever. 

  1. A Heating Pad:

Imagine: You’re achy and you have the chills. Heating pads are your answer. 

  1. Tea Bags:

Tea is great for soothing a sore throat, aiding sleep and improving congestion. 

  1. Honey:

Putting honey in the tea can add sweetness while also soothing a sore throat. 

  1. Face Masks: 

Having a few masks on hand is a great idea in case you do have to run out to get food or other necessities. 


After being sick, your room may be a disaster. However, there’s a way to go about this. First, throw all of your sheets, blankets and pillowcases into the washer. Next, clear off your bedside table. A lot of the time, the bedside table and other surfaces accumulate with mugs, bowls, tissues and whatever else you used. Make sure to clean what needs to be cleaned and throw away any trash. After the table is clear, I would disinfect it. It will be so nice after being sick to have a clean space again. Lastly, go shopping, because your “sick day basket” is now empty.

Hello, I’m Sydney! Im a psychology major with a double minor in criminal Justice and human services at ODU. In my free time, I like to play piano, read and watch movies.