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How to Get Un-Sick at St. Olaf

So I don’t know if you have noticed, but everyone—and I do mean EVERYONE—on campus is either sick, getting sick, or pretending their sickness does not exist. When cold season hits at St. Olaf, it seems to hit hard. We are anxiety-ridden, sleep deprived college students. We don’t have time to take care of that Stats assignment– let alone take care of ourselves. How then, when the campus is plagued with runny noses and upset stomachs, can we stay healthy?

I’m glad you asked.  Here are nine ways to get Un-sick at St. Olaf College.

1. Get a Plastic Bubble to Guard Against Germs

Have you ever heard of Bubble Boy? He’s a character in a movie born without any immunities. He wears a giant plastic bubble to protect him from germs. I admit, this is not the most practical way to protect from the St. Olaf plague. But, when your lab partner is hacking up in lung, that plastic bubble would be nice. Alternative germ fighters include: washing your hands (meet hand sanitizer, your new best friend) and keeping a personal bubble of space around sick people. 

2. There’s This Thing Called a Nap…Do it

The actual recommendation for staying healthy during cold season is to get 8 hours of sleep a night. But this is college; in college, 8 hours of sleep is a luxury we cannot afford. Naps, however, are a bit more reasonable. Just finding half hour increments here and there can boost your immune system. Seriously, a good night’s rest (or mid-afternoon) can do wonders in your quest to perfect health. 

3. Eat This, Not That!

To Eat: Ginger, lemon, Chicken Noodle Soup (yes, your Mom is right, it DOES work!), oranges, tea, honey, popsicles (or Johnny Pops), leafy greens (the darker, the better)

To Not Eat: Sugar, Dairy products (it creates mucus in your throat), fast foods, alcohol 

4. Get Healthy while Getting Ripped

Exercise can actually boost the immune system. It a) gets your heart pumping and b) lowers your stress level. If you are stressed (hello, every Ole), your body has to work double time, leaving you more vulnerable to sickness. Exercise is said to have the greatest influence in reducing sick days. But don’t overdo it–especially if you are sick. You only need 30 minutes of moderate exercise to see results.

5. Stay Hydrated

Your body is working vigorously to fight the St. Olaf epidemic. Help it out! Keep a water bottle with you and continually sip it throughout your classes. Staying hydrated also cuts down on symptoms like a sore throat and a runny nose. The cage has plenty of tea options too. For a sore throat, drink lukewarm peppermint tea (anything too hot might burn your throat!). For a headache, go for tea with a little bit of caffeine, like black tea or English Breakfast. Choose a ginger based tea to ease an upset stomach. Also, lemon and honey are the ‘Get Un-sick’ miracle workers. 

6. Take a night off

I know SGA has a million things to do tonight—but hear me out. The average cold lasts nine days. So unless you take tonight off, the entirety of your next week will be full of tissues, cough drops, and Dayquil. When you’re sick, you won’t even want to go to that Pause Dance. So consider staying in tonight! Plus, your dorm has Netflix…and pillows…and your bed…oh, you’re walking to your dorm now? That’s what I thought.

7. Get Salty

I don’t mean grumpy—although we all get grouchy when we feel under the weather. I’m talking about actual salt. Gargling with salt water is an age old trick. It not only reduces inflammation in the throat, but it kills germs and bacteria. Fill a cup with warm water and put as much salt as you can handle. Gargle at the first sign of sickness and daily until you get better. Added bonus: gargling with salt water not only relieves your throat but improves your oral hygiene.  

8. Call your Mom

Or dad. Or best friend. Or second cousin twice removed. These people are your support system. When you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, you’re more vulnerable to sickness. Call someone who makes you feel a little better—even for a moment. Plus, these people want to hear about your life up here on the Hill.

9. If You’re Still Sick…

It’s time to go see a doctor. If your illness has lasted longer than a week, there’s a possibility it’s moved from “common cold” to a bacterial infection. St. Olaf offers Student Health Services at Tompson. You can call 507-786-3063 to talk with a Registered Nurse. Then, you can get a prescription and be back on the field, in class, out on Saturday nights, in the ensemble in no time! 

Seriously. I know you might be all tough and not need medicine. Or maybe you still haven’t admitted you’re sick. But just go. It will make you feel better I promise.





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Kailey is from Crystal Lake, IL. She is a first year at St. Olaf College and loves When Harry Met Sally, the color yellow, and chocolate.
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